Bharat Biotech has announced that it will increase covaxin (coronavirus vaccine) manufacturing capabilities. They will manufacture additional doses of Covaxin at its rabies vaccine facility in Gujarat. This whole process of ramping up manufacturing will take around four months. Suchitra Ella, Joint Managing Director of Bharat Biotech said that it will increase its Covid vaccine capacity by 17 million doses a month.
Hyderabad based company noted in a press statement that it is planning to produce 20 crore doses of Covaxin per annum in the GMP facilities. It will become available from the fourth quarter of this year (October). They have also increased their capacities to make 70 crore doses a year of Covaxin in its Hyderabad and Bengaluru facilities. This implies that around 5.8 crore doses of covaxin will be available to public every month.
Bharat Biotech Chairman and Managing Director, Dr Krishna Ella told NDTV during an interview last month that they were able to reach a capacity of 2 crore doses a month in April and were expecting to increase it to around 30-35 million doses in May. As Bharat Biotech’s additional facility becomes ready to manufacture vaccine doses, it will contribute to government’s aim of vaccinating maximum number of people as soon as possible in order to curtail covid infections.
Four manufacturers have agreed to contribute to Bharat Biotech’s vaccine manufacturing and increase total number of vaccines being manufactured. These manufacturers are Maharashtra’s Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation, Bharat Immunologicals and Biologicals Corporation, Indian Immunologicals Ltd and a consortium of OmniBRx Biotechnologies, Hester Biosciences and the Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre.
With these first three collaborations, it is being expected that production of Covaxin will be increased to 13.5 crore doses a month by November from 3 crore doses in May. Gujarat consortium would contribute extra 2 crore doses if everything goes according to plan.
Five German companies have also expressed their interest in manufacturing covaxin. Manufacturers from four other countries have also expressed interest. International manufacturers will be permitted only if they send at least half of total stock produced to India. It is not clear yet which German companies have sent requests and what are their manufacturing capabilities.