Bharat Biotech has announced that its production capacity will be increased to 700 million Covaxin doses annually.
Manufacturing scale-up has been accomplished in stages in a stepwise manner at various facilities in Hyderabad and Bangalore.
Capacity expansion in vaccine manufacturing is a long and tedious process, requiring investments of several millions of rupees and several years.
According to a statement from Bharat Biotech, the company is able to expand Covaxin manufacturing capability in a short time due to the availability of three new specially built facilities, the first of their kind for manufacturing in India.
The Government of India has approved a payment of about 4,500 crore rupees as advance to vaccine makers for ramping up their supplies including Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India (SII) that is producing AstraZeneca’s Covishield in India.
Manufacturing collaborations are being discussed with partners in other countries who have prior experience in manufacturing inactivated viral vaccines on a commercial scale under biosafety containment.
Indian Immunologicals tie-up
Bharat Biotech has partnered with Indian Immunologicals (IIL) to manufacture the drug substance for Covaxin in order to expand capacity. IIL has the skills and experience to produce inactivated viral vaccines at a commercial scale and under biosafety containment, and the technology transfer process is well underway.
‘’The protocols for manufacturing, testing, and release of inactivated vaccines have been tried, tested, and validated across several of our vaccines, these also meet the requirements of WHO, Indian, and other regulatory authorities. These protocols have delivered consistent results over a 15-year period with more than 300 million doses supplied globally, with excellent safety and performance record,’’ the statement said.
COVAXIN is India’s indigenous COVID-19 vaccine. It was developed in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology by Bharat Biotech, a vaccine manufacturer based in Hyderabad (NIV).
Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin has also received Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) in several countries so far, while several more applications are in process.