The Centre on Wednesday took steps to accelerate domestic vaccine production. Mumbai-based Haffkine Biopharma will produce 22.8 crore doses per annum of Covaxin under technology transfer arrangement with Bharat Biotech.
With the aim of vaccinating the entire eligible population at the earliest, domestic vaccine production is being steadily ramped up in the country with the help from the Centre.
As part of this initiative, three public enterprises are being supported by the Department of Biotechnology under Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 Mission ‘Covid Suraksha’.
These enterprises are the Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation Ltd, Mumbai, Indian Immunologicals Ltd, Hyderabad and Bharat Immunologicals & Biologicals Ltd, Bulandshahr, UP.
Haffkine Biopharma, a Maharashtra state PSU is getting ready to manufacture Covaxin under technology transfer arrangement with Bharat Biotech Ltd, Hyderabad. The production will take place at the Parel complex of the company.
Sandeep Rathod, Managing Director of Haffkine BioPharma said the company proposes to produce 22.8 crore doses of Covaxin in a year. “For undertaking production of Covaxin, Haffkine Biopharma has been provided with Rs 65 crore grant by the Centre and Rs 94 crore from the Government of Maharashtra,” he added.
“We have been given a timeline of eight months and the work is being executed on a war footing. The vaccine production process involves two stages — drug substance and final drug product. For production of drug substance we need to build a Bio Safety Level 3 (BSL 3) facility, while Haffkine already has the Fill Finish facility”, said Rathod.
BSL 3 is a safety standard applicable to such facilities where work involves microbes which can cause serious disease via inhalation route.
“Enhancing vaccine production capacity using Public sectors assets will go a long way in building production capacity of vaccines in our country to support the massive vaccination drive,” said, Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary Department of Biotechnology and Chairperson BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council).
Haffkine BioPharmaceutical Corporation Ltd is an offshoot of the 122-year-old Haffkine Institute, which is one of the oldest biomedical research institutes in the country, named after the Russian bacteriologist Dr Waldemar Haffkine, who invented the plague vaccine.