Production of Covaxin doses receives boost
Indian Immunologicals Ltd on Friday handed over the first batch of the active ingredient used in the production of Covaxin to its developer Bharat Biotech, a key milestone in efforts to ramp up production of the vaccine by roping in other companies.
“This is team India at work. It could not have been possible without the coming together of several stake holders to achieve a common goal. Our capable and competent team worked tirelessly round the clock to ensure that the committed timelines and product quality are met. It is a proud moment for IIL to have played a vital role in supporting our Nation’s interest during this unprecedented time. This would have not been possible without the constant support provided by Niti-Aayog, BIRAC, DBT, Mission Covid Suraksha Team, Central and State drug control authorities,” said K Anand Kumar, managing director, IIL.
Covaxin is one of the three Covid-19 vaccines currently being administered under the national Covid immunisation programme.
A public sector undertaking, Indian Immunologicals Ltd (IIL) and Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) collaborated to help in scaling up overall production in April 2021. As part of the collaboration, IIL in just about three months re-purposed its manufacturing facility in Hyderabad, procured key raw materials and consumables, key equipment, transferred technology, did trials at research and development scale, completed necessary training etc.
According to the company, production at the facility commenced in July 2021, and the batches so produced have been tested at BBIL and IIL and meet the quality specifications for the drug substance. It also announced in a statement issued on Friday that output of Covaxin drug substance will be 3 to 4 million a month, and from December will increase to 10 million a month.
The Hyderabad-based company was sanctioned by the centre a grant of ₹60 crore towards enhancing production capabilities.
The production number of Covaxin is projected to increase from the current 25 million doses a month to at least 58 million doses in near future.
Separately, the makers of Sputnik V have tied up with India’s pharmaceuticals and biotechnology company, Wockhardt, to produce the vaccine doses, the company announced on Friday, making it eighth such manufacturing partnership.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia’s sovereign wealth fund that is marketing the vaccine globally, and Wockhardt Limited, will together be producing and supplying Sputnik V and its single dose version, Sputnik Light, vaccines.
“The agreement was reached under the aegis of Enso Healthcare (part of Enso Group), RDIF’s coordination partner for sourcing Sputnik V vaccines in India,” said RDIF in a statement.
RDIF is looking at an annual production of nearly 850 million vaccine doses in India.