Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare and Chemical and Fertilizer Shri Mansukh Mandaviya today released the first commercial batch of COVAXIN from Chiron Behring Vaccines facility of Bharat Biotech in Ankleshwar, Gujarat. Shri C R Patil, MP, Navsari, Shri Ishwarsinh Patel, MLA, Ankleshwar, Shri Dushyant Patel, MLA and Dr. Krishna Ella, Chairman & Managing Director, Bharat Biotech were also present at the event.
Speaking at the inauguration, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya said that due to the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision, India was able to develop its first indigenous vaccine. He remarked that India is running one of the largest Vaccination programs in the world and it was made possible due to the development of these indigenous vaccines. The National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme has been successfully going on across all states and Union Territories since 16th January, 2021, he added.
Dedicating the release of the first batch of COVAXIN from Ankleshwar facilities to the Nation, the Union Health Minister said that it is a landmark moment in the journey of India’s fight against COVID-19. The increase in the production capacity of COVID-19 Vaccines would give further impetus to the pace of Vaccination in India. He added that it is a matter of great pride for us that the research and production of vaccines of two companies Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila took place in India. He also informed that the Ankleshwar plant has a manufacturing capacity of more than 1 crore doses per month starting today.
Talking about India’s contribution to the fight against the global pandemic, he mentioned how India has always been on the forefront of helping other countries in need with essential medicines to deal with COVID situation.
Speaking of the status of COVAXIN production in India, the Union Minister informed that Bharat Biotech has already deployed multiple production lines at its Hyderabad, Malur, Bengaluru, and Pune campuses, and the addition of Chiron Behring, Ankleshwar will further augment its COVAXIN production capacity. A new filing facility constructed during 2020 is now being utilized for the production of COVAXIN. The COVAXIN production had begun in early June, before which the team had executed engineering batches to study the equipment functionality at the facility. Products manufactured from Ankleshwar facilities will be available for supplies starting September 2021, he added.
Dr. Krishna Ella, Chairman & Managing Director, Bharat Biotech, said, “Our goal to develop a vaccine with global safety and efficacy standards has now been achieved, we are now marching towards the goal of annualized capacity of ~ 1.0 billion doses.”
Bharat Biotech is also exploring manufacturing partnerships with its partners in other countries, who have prior expertise with commercial scale manufacturing of inactivated viral vaccines under biosafety containment for further augmentation, he added.