Amid the political brawl of words, the Union Government ruled out allegations of the Delhi Government controlling the vaccine supplies and refusing Bharat Biotech to supply additional doses of vaccine to Delhi. According to reports, Union Government stated that National Capital has received 75,000 doses of free Covaxin. On May 11, Tuesday, Delhi’s deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia accused the vaccine manufacturer of not providing enough jabs to Delhi Government due to unavailability. Sisodia further held the ruling Government responsible for it. Dr VK Paul, a health officer from NITI Aayog stated, “We refute the charge that there is any pressure on anybody not to supply vaccine to any particular state.” He further stated that such false information affects the morale of vaccine manufacturers.
Also, numerous states have requested the Union Government to share the formula of COVID – 19 jabs with other manufacturers to increase the productivity of vaccines. Dr. VK Paul of NITI Aayog on Thursday, May 13, stated that, “People say that Covaxin should be given to other companies for manufacturing. I am happy to say that Covaxin manufacturing company (Bharat Biotech) has welcomed this when we discussed it with them. Under this vaccine, a live virus is inactivated and this is done only in BSL3 labs. Not every company has this.” Stating about the open invitation, Dr. VK Paul said, “We give an open invitation to companies who want to do this. Companies that want to manufacture Covaxin, should do it together. The Centre will assist so that capacity is increased.” Many states have spoken to Center about the shortage of jab.
People say that Covaxin be given to other companies for manufacturing. I am happy to say that Covaxin manufacturing company (Bharat Biotech) has welcomed this when we discussed it with them. Under this vaccine live virus is inactivated & this is done only in BSL3 labs: Dr VK Paul pic.twitter.com/OXMFqpO49p
— ANI (@ANI) May 13, 2021
Days ago, along with Kejriwal, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about sharing the formula of the indigenously produced vaccine. Kejriwal stated that “Only two companies are producing vaccines so far. They produce only 6-7 crore vaccines a month. This way, it will take over two years to vaccinate everyone. Many waves would have come by then. Important to increase vaccine production on war footing and frame national plan to vaccinate all.” He further added, “The Centre has the power to make the vaccine formula public and distribute to those who are interested in making it. During the crisis in PPE kits last year, we allowed many companies to make the kits. Likewise, we should do the same in terms of vaccine manufacturing.” According to an ANI report, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy wrote to Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday about the transfer of the manufacturing formula of COVAXIN to other companies.
According to a report from PTI, the Health Minister of the Delhi Government spoke to the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan about sharing the vaccine formula with other firms to increase the speed of production. Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain stated that he raised some important points during the digital meet with Union Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan.
Even after Bharat Biotech opens up to share the formula with other companies, it is not so likely that a huge number of Pharma companies can start production soon, because the companies don’t have enough facilities for manufacturing the vaccine.
COVAXIN is manufactured from inactivated SARS-COV-2 virus. This requires large batches of the highly infectious vaccine which are cultured and then they are killed using an inactivating agent for the production. During the manufacturing process, the producers have to work with live virus, which is extremely dangerous, hence utmost care and safety needs to be taken. Plants with a safety rating of Bio-Safety Level 3 (BSL3) are required for this and not many companies have the plants with this certification.
Bharat Biotech is in discussion with Panacea Biotech for producing the vaccine. Panacea Biotech is a company that has a safety rating of BSL3.
According to reports, the Central Government PSUs which have agreed on the transfer agreement with Bharat Biotech are Indian Immunologicals Ltd (IIL) and BIBCOL. Another company which received Central Government’s approval for producing vaccine is Haffkine Institute. As per reports, Indian Immunologicals Ltd is likely to start manufacturing vaccines in September 2021. BIBCOL and Haffkine Institute can start manufacturing from November 2021.
DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author