Envoys from 64 nations witness India’s vaccine manufacturing

Naveen S Garewal 

Tribune News Service 

Hyderabad, December 9 

Hyderabad was lined up with lathi-wielding policemen on almost all roads as envoys from 64 countries visit the city to get a first-hand account of the Covaxin being developed at the Bharat Biotech premises.

They were brought into the city by a special flight, making the presence of so many Ambassadors and High commissioner a historic one. 

The countries represented by them include those from Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania. The Genome Valley was decorated and foolproof security arrangements were made in the valley that is known to produce the largest number of vaccines in the world in labs of different pharmaceutical companies. 

Organised by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), this was an attempt to showcase India’s expertise so that a partnerships could be brokered for the manufacture and delivery of vaccines. This is a follow up of the briefing in Delhi where India presented its case to these envoys. The envoys were briefed by the top officials of these two companies that are waiting for the approval of the vaccine from the regulator. 

At Bharat Biotech, the delegation was briefed about company’s vaccine development programme by Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director, spearheading Covaxin research, development, clinical trials and production teams. The delegates were explained about Bharat Biotech’s research process, manufacturing capabilities, expertise through virtual and physical tours of the facilities. 

Covaxin is being developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) – National Institute of Virology (NIV). This indigenous, inactivated vaccine is developed and manufactured in Bharat Biotech’s BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) bio-containment facility. 

Suchitra Ella, Joint Managing Director of Bharat Biotech told the visiting envoys that the development and clinical evaluation of COVAXIN marks a significant milestone for novel vaccinology in India. Covaxin has garnered interest from several countries worldwide for supplies and introduction. 

At the same time the Biological E initiated clinical trial of its Covid-19 subunit vaccine candidate in India last month following approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI). The vaccine is being made in India in collaboration with Dynavax Technologies Corporation (Dynavax), a US-based vaccine focused biopharmaceutical company, and Baylor College of Medicine, a health sciences university in Houston. 

The Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar addressed the diplomats and showcased the potential of the state. He told the envoys that the combined value of the pharma sector in the state was around $50 billion. Hyderabad is the vaccine hub of not only India but the entire world with 33 per cent of the entire vaccine production being done in Hyderabad. 

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