COVID-19: Bharat Biotech scales up manufacturing capacity of Covaxin amid sharp surge

Bharat Biotech's Covaxin
Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin

Bharat Biotech has scaled up the manufacturing capacity of its COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covaxin’ to produce 700 million doses, as against the previous capacity of 200 million doses a year.

“Manufacturing scale-up has been carried out in a stepwise manner across multiple facilities in Hyderabad and Bengaluru to produce 700 million doses,” the company said in a press release. 

“Capacity expansion in vaccines manufacturing is a long and tedious process, requiring investments of several million rupees and several years. Bharat Biotech is able to expand Covaxin manufacturing capacity in a short timeline, mainly due to the availability of new specially designed BSL-3 facilities,” the release added.

Further, Bharat Biotech said it had partnered with Indian Immunologicals (IIL) to manufacture the drug substance for Covaxin. The technology transfer process is under way and the IIL has the capabilities and expertise to manufacture inactivated viral vaccines at commercial scale and under biosafety containment. Manufacturing partnerships are also being explored with partners in other countries, the release said.

The release from the company said it used a proprietary adjuvant Algel-IMDG. The synthesis and manufacture of the IMDG component has been successfully indigenised and will be manufactured at commercial scale within the country. This is the first instance where a novel adjuvant has been commercialised in India, it added.

The announcement by the company came a day after the Centre announced financial support to the two COVID-19 vaccine makers — Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India, amid complaints of vaccine shortage, surge in the number of people testing positive for the virus as well as the number of COVID-19-related deaths.

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