Bharat Biotech on May 27 signed an MoU with the Gujarat Covid Vaccine Consortium (GCVC) to do contract manufacturing of Covaxin drug substance.
The Gujarat Covid Vaccine Consortium (GCVC) consists of Hester Biosciences, Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC), a Government of Gujarat undertaking and Omnibrx Biotechnologies.
As per the MoU, Bharat Biotech will provide the technology for the production of the Covaxin drug substance. GBRC will act as an advisor and mentor and will facilitate the technology transfer from Bharat Biotech. Hester will provide the complete infrastructure at its Gujarat plant for the manufacturing of the drug substance. Omnibrx shall act as a technology support partner .
This entire process is facilitated by Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.
If everything goes as per the schedule, the drug substance would be available from August 2021 which will be supplied back to Bharat Biotech do do fill and finish of the vaccine. Hester will be investing about Rs 40 crores on this project.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.