The Maharashtra Government on Monday formed a nine-member committee headed by Chief Secretary to give a much-needed push and monitor Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation's move to start production of Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin at Parel under the technology transfer arrangement from Bharat Biotech. Haffkine BioPharma MD Sandeep Rathod has said the company proposes to produce 22.8 cr doses of Covaxin in a year.
The monitoring committee comprises Department of Science and Technology & Biotechnology, Government of India, additional chief secretary (finance), additional chief secretary (public health), department of medical education and drugs secretary, Indian Council of Medical Research Director General, Bharat Biotech wholetime director Dr V Krishna Menon and Haffkine Institute Director while Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation MD will be the member secretary.
In addition, the govt has established a 10-member review committee chaired by department of medical education and drugs secretary. Its members include Haffkine Institute Director, Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation MD, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Director, Bharat Biotech whole time director Dr V Krishna Menon, Institute of Chemical Technology Vice-Chancellor, IIT Director (biotechnology) and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Director (biotechnology) while Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation MD will be the member secretary.
The formation of these two committees came days after the Dept of Biotechnology, in a bid to accelerate vaccine production, has extended its support to Haffkine.
Biopharmaceutical Corporation. Ss reported by Free Press Journal, for undertaking production of Covaxin, Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation has been provided with Rs 65 crore grant by the Centre and Rs 94 crore from the Government of Maharashtra.
The Chief Secretary led committee will monitor the progress of the proposed production facility and expenses. It will also recommend the Biopharmaceutical Corporation to complete the project well within the time schedule. The review committee will guide the Haffkine Institute and Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation on expediting the work.
The vaccine production process involves two stages – drug substance and final drug product. For production of drug substances we need to build a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL 3) facility, while Haffkine already has the Fill Finish facility” noted Rathod.