Government has finalised arrangements with Hyderabad-based vaccine manufacturer Biological-E to reserve 30 crore of Covid-19 vaccine doses. Biological-E will manufacture and stockpile these vaccine doses August-December 2021 onwards.
For the purpose, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will make an advance payment of Rs 1500 crore to Biological-E.
The Covid-19 vaccine of Biological-E is currently undergoing Phase III clinical trial after showing promising results in Phase I and II clinical trials. The Biological-E vaccine is a RBD protein sub-unit vaccine and is likely to be available in the next few months.
The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) examined and recommended the proposal of Biological-E for approval following due diligence.
The arrangement with Biological-E is part of the wider endeavour of government to encourage indigenous vaccine manufacturers by providing them support in Research & Development (R&D) and financial support.
The government has supported Biological-E Covid-19 vaccine candidate from the pre-clinical stage to Phase III studies. The Department of Biotechnology has not only provided financial assistance in terms of grant-in-aid of over Rs 100 crore but has also partnered with Biological-E to conduct all animal challenge and assay studies through its Research Institute Translational Health Science Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad.
This has been undertaken as part of government’s ‘Mission Covid-19 Suraksha ― the Indian Covid-19 Vaccine Development Mission’, which was launched to reinforce and accelerate Covid-19 vaccine development efforts as part of the third stimulus package, Atmanirbhar 3.0.
The mission aims to bring to the citizens a safe, efficacious, affordable and accessible Covid-19 vaccine. The mission is supporting development of 5-6 Covid-19 vaccine candidates. Some of these are now closer to licensure and introduction in public health systems. It has not just accelerated Covid-19 Vaccine development efforts, but fostered a robust end-to-end vaccine development ecosystem in the country that will be available for other on-going and future research and developmental activities for other vaccines.