Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service
Hyderabad, January 14
When the COVID-19 vaccine is being transported across the country, the Hyderabad-based biotech company Bharat Biotech on Thursday sent out the first batch of its vaccine named “Covaxin” to 11 cities in India on Wednesday.
Dr Randeep Gularia, Director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), has caused a stir by saying that this vaccine would be used as a backup, leading to a strong reaction from Bharat Biotech.
But after the company received an order for 55 lakh doses, it shipped the first batch of vaccines.
According to the company, each vial contains 20 doses. The cities on the list of recipients for the Covaxin are Gannavaram in Andhra, Guwahati, Patna, Delhi, Kurukshetra, Bengaluru, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Chennai and Lucknow. Hyderabad will also receive the vaccines as it is among the 12 cities that are covered under the government purchase order.
Bharat Biotech announced, “Covaxin was a purified and inactivated 2 dose SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, manufactured in a vero cell manufacturing platform with a safety track record of more than 300 million doses.”
The government has agreed to purchase the indigenously developed vaccine at Rs 295 per dose for 55 lakh doses while the company has donated 16.5 lakh doses to the Government of India. The vaccine has been developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) – National Institute of Virology (NIV).
Bharat Biotech said it was fully satisfied with the efficacy of the vaccine that has been developed and produced at the company’s BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) biocontainment facility.
Dr. Krishna Ella is the Chairman & Managing Director, a first-generation entrepreneur who set up the company in 1996, has been very critical of some rivals who have claimed the Covaxin to be harmless as water.
He, however, announced that as his company’s contribution towards fighting COVID Bharat Biotech was donating a large number of vaccines.