The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has informed that under“Mission COVID Suraksha- the Indian COVID-19 Vaccine Development Mission,” being implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), facility augmentation of Bharat Biotech and three Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) including Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation, Mumbai; Indian Immunologicals, Hyderabad; and Bharat Immunologicals Biologicals Corporation, Bulandshahr; is being supported, for augmented production of Covaxin, said Mansukh Mandaviya, Health Minister, in Rajya Sabha yesterday.
He further informed that technology transfer of Covaxin production to Gujarat COVID Vaccine Consortium (GCVC), comprising Hester Biosciences, OmniBRx Biotechnologies and Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC), Department of Science and Technology, Government of Gujarat; is being facilitated by DBT, with a view to enhance the production of Covaxin in the coming months.
In addition, he said that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has provided 100 per cent advance to domestic vaccine manufacturers in respect of procurement order placed with them. These funds can be used by such manufacturers for their capacity augmentation. The government has also provided financial assistance to one of the vaccine manufacturers i.e. M/s Biological E for ‘At-risk manufacturing’ of COVID-19 vaccine.
Further, the Central Drug Standards and Control Organisation (CDSCO) has put in place a system to fast track processing of application for clinical trial and approval for COVID-19 vaccines, the minister added.
He further said, “The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has ensured improved accessibility of safe COVID-19 vaccination services for eligible beneficiaries irrespective of their socio-economic status. This has been done through an increase in vaccination centres, citizen-friendly upgradation of Co-WIN, establishment of 24×7 national call centre helpline to address queries from the general public on COVID-19 and the vaccination process.”