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COVID-19 vaccine: Mumbai's Haffkine Institute gets Centre's approval to produce Covaxin

Covaxin is currently produced by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.

April 16, 2021 / 09:02 AM IST
Bharat Biotech's Covaxin was granted restricted emegency use approval in 'clinical trial mode' on January 2.

Bharat Biotech's Covaxin was granted restricted emegency use approval in 'clinical trial mode' on January 2.

The government has allowed Mumbai-based Haffkine Institute to manufacture Bharat Biotech's Covaxin upon a request from Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. The approval comes a day after India reported over two lakh fresh COVID-19 cases, pushing the total tally of cases to 1,40,74,564.

"Haffkine was approved by the Union Government's Department of Science and Technology to produce Covaxin by technology transfer from Bharat Biotech," the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said.

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CM Thackeray thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for accepting his request and giving permission, the CMO added.

Covaxin is currently produced by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

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.

How many types of vaccines are there?

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.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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.

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Renu Swarup, secretary of the Union Science and Technology Department sent the approval letter to the Maharashtra chief secretary Sitaram Kunte, as per a PTI report.

The Union government has granted one year period to the state to carry out the production.

India has reported an exponential rise in cases in the last few weeks. Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Rajasthan have shown a steep rise in COVID-19 daily cases, accounting for 80.76 percent of the new infections reported in a day, as per the Union Health Ministry.

Several states, including Maharashtra and Odisha, have urged the Centre to expedite the ongoing immunisation programme. India has so far administered over 11.70 crore doses of the COVID-19 vaccines till April 15.

As many as 67,400 COVID vaccination centres (CVCs) were operational, marking a rise of an average of 22,400 operational vaccination centres (45,000 CVCs on average are functional on any given day). Workplace vaccinations have also enabled such a high turnout of beneficiaries, the Health Ministry said on April 15.

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Moneycontrol News
first published: Apr 16, 2021 09:02 am

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