GOVERNMENT EXPLORING POSSIBILITY OF COVAXIN PRODUCTION OUTSIDE INDIA
To counter the country's COVID-19 vaccine shortage, the government is looking at increasing vaccine demand, including locating manufacturing sites for indigenously produced Covaxin outside of India, according to reports. The government also plans to approach the World Health Organization (WHO) about increasing Covaxin demand.
Many states have complained about the shortage of vaccines. To address the issue, the government has been taking measures to ramp up the production of Covaxin.
These issues were discussed at an inter-ministerial meeting on May 18 to explore the options for increasing the supply of medicines and vaccines used to treat COVID-19, including voluntary license, compulsory license, and government usage authorization under the Patents Act, 1970.
It will also discuss the question of awarding voluntary licenses to third-party manufacturers in India on the basis of technology transfer with Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and other vaccine manufacturers.
The DBT has been asked to inform about incentives including royalty being given to Bharat Biotech for grant of license to manufacture Covaxin on the transfer of technology basis. To increase manufacturing sites in India, the DBT and the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) have been asked to recognize manufacturers with BSL-3 facilities as well as those who can develop such a facility. The DBT last week also said Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre, Department of Science and Technology of the Gujarat government, along with Hester Biosciences and OmniBRx, has also firmed up its discussions with Bharat Biotech to scale up the Covaxin technology and to produce a minimum of 20 million doses per month.
Last month, the DBT announced a plan to significantly ramp up the production of Covaxin. This included roping in three public sector companies -- Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation Ltd, Mumbai, a PSU under the Maharashtra government; Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), Hyderabad, a facility under National Dairy; and Bharat Immunologicals and Biologicals Limited (BIBCOL), Bulandshahr, a PSU under the DBT. It said 7.5 crore doses are expected to be produced by August and 10 crore by September.