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COVID-19 vaccines to cost Rs 1,000 in private market, Bharat Biotech wants 'maximum' price for Covaxin

Bharat Biotch expects to reach a production capacity of up to 800 million doses per annum by July-August.

April 21, 2021 / 10:29 PM IST

COVID-19 vaccine may be priced at around Rs 1,000 per dose for private players. At this rate, depending on the vaccine, manufacturers would have a profit of Rs 650 a dose.

"The prices of foreign vaccines may be higher than this as they need sophisticated cold chain infrastructure. Also, the government will monitor the prices we set for the private market. So, nothing is concrete as of now,” an industry source told Business Standard.

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The government has asked manufacturers to declare the price at which they would supply the COVID-19 vaccine to the open market, including companies, private hospitals, and state governments before May 1, the report said.

The government has thus far procured vaccines at a lower price compared to the global market. Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine costs $2.06 per shot in India, while it sells at $3.6 per dose globally.

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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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Indigenously-made Bharat Biotech's Covaxin is getting between $15 and $20 per dose in the international market, while it sells the shot at $2 per dose in India.

The firm's Chairman and Managing Director, Dr Krishna Ella, has hinted at increasing the price of the vaccine.

Read: Govt gives ‘advance’ of around Rs 4,500 crore to Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech

Ella said that he would like to get the maximum price (for Covaxin) to recover all costs, including the Rs 350 crore spent on clinical trials, in order to have money to work on vaccines for all kinds of infectious diseases, as per a LiveMint report.

Speaking at the 6th National Leadership of All India Management Association (AIMA), Ella said that the company will be activating two new facilities in Bengaluru.

The company started with one production facility in the beginning, and now it has four production facilities activated in Hyderabad.

Read: Bharat Biotech announces COVAXIN capacity expansion to support vaccination campaigns in India, worldwide

"Last month we produced 15 million doses, this month we are reaching 20 million doses, next month we will be making around 30 million doses followed by 70 to 75 million doses," Ella said.

He said that the company expects to reach a production capacity of up to 800 million doses per annum by July-August. "We are ramping up the production and by July-August, we will be able to reach 700 to 800 million doses production capacity per annum," Ella added.

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first published: Apr 21, 2021 12:22 pm
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