Mumbai’s Haffkine Bio Pharma to manufacture Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Centre gives nod
The Centre on Thursday allowed Mumbai-based Haffkine Bio Pharma to manufacture Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, which will be a shot in the arm of India’s vaccine production. Haffkine Institute, the biomedical company owned by the Maharashtra government, has sought permission from the Centre for the transfer of technology from Bharat Biotech, which in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research, developed Covaxin.
In a video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi held in March, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray raised the issue and requested PM Modi to allow the state-owned pharma company to manufacture the vaccine.
In January, Haffkine sought the nod from the ICMR for technology transfer. In March, it again sought permission and said that in case it is not granted the permission to manufacture the vaccine, it can ‘fill and finish’ operations of the Covid vaccine, where it will only fill vaccines in bottles and make them ready for dispatch.
What this nod means
The Department of Biotechnology has informed the Maharashtra government that permission has been granted to Haffkine to produce Covaxin with a year. This is the first time that another pharma company, which was not part of the vaccine development process, is being given the technology.
The decision will boost India’s vaccine production at a time the country is seeing a resurgence of the infection and the vaccination drive against Covid is being expanded.
Haffkine is one of the country’s oldest and premier biomedical research facilities. It has all the required facilities to produce the vaccine, Maharashtra ministers said. “Bharat Biotech produces Covaxin. If we get the formula from the company, the Maharashtra government is ready to manufacture it in Haffkine Institute, which has all the required facilities. It will help get more people vaccinated against COVID-19 in a short period,” Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said earlier.