According to PTI, the Centre said on Thursday that biotechnology company Bharat Biotech was ready to invite other firms to develop Covaxin, a coronavirus vaccine. VK Paul, a member of the Niti Aayog’s Health Committee, said at a press conference that the central government would give all necessary assistance to businesses able to produce the vaccine in order to increase availability.
According to NDTV, some people believe Covaxin should be provided to other companies for manufacturing. When we discussed it with the Covaxin production firm, they were very enthusiastic.
However, most vaccine manufacturers in the country do not have sophisticated labs to develop the vaccine, according to Paul. A live virus is inactivated in this vaccine, which is only achieved in BSL3 [Biosafety Level 3] laboratories, according to Paul. This isn’t something that any organization has. We extend an open invitation to any company interested in participating.
Several politicians, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Andhra Pradesh counterpart YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting that the Centre allow the transition of Covaxin technology to other firms.
Balram Bhargava, Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research, said earlier this month that Bharat Biotech and the research body shared intellectual property rights for the use of Covaxin.
More recently, on Tuesday, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that Bharat Biotech had declined to supply additional doses to the national capital, claiming that the firm was dispatching according to the orders of concerned officials. According to Sisodia, the company’s statement made it clear that the officials referred to were from the federal government.
Paul refuted on Thursday that the Center was involved in the vaccine procurement operation. He went on to say that Bharat Biotech was expanding its vaccine manufacturing capability and had already enlisted the support of three government-owned enterprises.
We deny any pressure on someone not to supply to a specific state, Paul said, adding that such allegations damage vaccine manufacturers’ morale.
Last month, the Department of Biotechnology announced a proposal to double Covaxin production by May-June by enlisting the help of three public-sector firms. According to PTI, Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation of Mumbai, Indian Immunologicals Limited of Hyderabad, and Bharat Immunologicals and Biologicals Limited of Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, have been enlisted to boost vaccine production potential.
By the end of the year, over 200 crore vaccine shots will be available
According to NDTV, Paul also mentioned that 216 crore vaccine doses will be available in India in the next five months, with the figure expected to rise to 300 crores by the first quarter of next year.
According to Paul, the 200 crore doses will contain 75 crore Covishield and 55 crore Covaxin, with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine expected to hit the market next week.
As we move on, there should be no question that vaccines will be available to everyone, according to the NITI Aayog member. Any vaccine that has been approved by the FDA [Food and Drug Administration of the United States] and the WHO [World Health Organization] can be imported into India. Within 1-2 days, an import license will be granted. There is no pending import license.
Vaccine availability was assured by the Centre despite supply shortages in many areas of the region. Since May 1, when all adults become liable for shots in the third process of inoculation, the shortage has worsened. In addition to the pending second dose for a significant portion of the target categories, about 60 crore people between the ages of 18 and 45 will be vaccinated.
Because of the severe vaccine shortage, at least eight states have agreed to issue global tenders to procure doses from foreign markets, while Punjab has declared that it will join the UN-backed COVAX project to obtain its supplies.