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COVID-19 Vaccine Update: Indian Immunologicals to start drug substance production for Covaxin from June

IILs Managing Director K Anand Kumar said the firm is expected to produce the drug substance initially for 2-3 million doses per month.

May 29, 2021 / 11:19 AM IST
To further increase the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity, Bharat Biotech had said it partnered with IIL to make the drug substance for Covaxin. (Representative image)

To further increase the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity, Bharat Biotech had said it partnered with IIL to make the drug substance for Covaxin. (Representative image)

Indian Immunologicals Ltd (IIL), a city-based facility under the National Dairy Development Board, has announced its plans to begin the production of drug substance meant for COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin from June 15, and despatch the first batch to Bharat Biotech by July.

IILs Managing Director K Anand Kumar in a release on May 28 said the firm is expected to produce the drug substance initially for 2-3 million doses per month. It will be scaled up to 7 million later in the year and eventually to 15 million.

To further increase the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity, Bharat Biotech had said it partnered with IIL to make the drug substance for Covaxin. The technology transfer process was well underway and IIL has the capabilities and expertise to manufacture inactivated viral vaccines at commercial scale and under biosafety containment, it had said.

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Kumar said IIL is converting its Karkapatla manufacturing unit near Hyderabad into a Biosafety Level -3 (BSL3) facility for the production of the drug substance and also taking up construction of another block.

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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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IIL is also working on another COVID -19 vaccine and the animal trials are underway and is expected to come out in 2022 for human vaccination, he noted.

Follow our full coverage on COVID-19 here.



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PTI
first published: May 29, 2021 11:12 am
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