As part of measures to increase coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine production in the country, Mumbai-based Haffkine Biopharma will produce 228 million doses per annum of Covaxin as part of a technology transfer arrangement with its maker 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 help from the Centre. As part of this initiative, three public enterprises are being supported by the Department of Biotechnology under Aatmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 Mission Covid Suraksha,” said a statement from the ministry of science and technology issued on Wednesday.
Apart from Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation Ltd, the other two companies that are being used to ramp up Covid-19 vaccine production in the country are Indian Immunologicals Ltd, Hyderabad, and Bharat Immunologicals & Biologicals Ltd, Bulandshahar, Uttar Pradesh.
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Haffkine Biopharma, a Maharashtra PSU, is getting ready to manufacture Covaxinas part of a technology transfer arrangement with Bharat Biotech Ltd, Hyderabad. The production will take place at the Parel complex of the company in Mumbai.
“For undertaking production of Covaxin, Haffkine Biopharma has been provided with ₹65 crore grant by the Centre and ₹94 crore from the Government of Maharashtra,” said Dr Sandeep Rathod, managing director of Haffkine BioPharma. He also confirmed that the company proposed to produce 228 million doses of Covaxin in a year.
“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 that 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, 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.