Amid a huge surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, the Centre on Friday said it is taking steps to accelerate the development and production of indigenous COVID-19 vaccines.
Under Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 Mission COVID Suraksha, the Department of Biotechnology is providing financial support as a grant to vaccine manufacturing facilities for enhanced production capacities.
"The current production capacity of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin will be doubled by May-June 2021 and then increased nearly 6-7 fold by July - August 2021 i.e increasing the production from 1 crore vaccine doses in April 2021 to 6-7 crore vaccine dose/month in July–August. It is expected to reach nearly 10 crore doses per month by Sep 2021," a release said.
As a part this plan, capacities of Bharat Biotech as well as other public sector manufacturers are being upgraded with required infrastructure and technology. Financial support is being provided as grant from the government to the tune of Rs 65 crore to Bharat Biotech’s new Bangalore facility which is being repurposed to increase the capacity of vaccine production.
Besides, Mumbai's Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation Ltd will also be getting a grant of Rs. 65 crore. "Financial support as grant from GoI to the tune of appx Rs 65 Cr will be provided for Haffkine to be made ready for manufacturing. The company had asked for around 12 months to complete this task. However, the Central government has asked them to expedite and complete the task urgently within 6 months. The facility will have a capacity of 20 million doses per month, once functional," the release said.
Meanwhile, the Centre had on Thursday approved production of Covaxin from the Haffkine Institute in Mumbai.
Since the past month, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had repeatedly requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow the production of vaccines in the renowned institution in central Mumbai.
The Centre's approval came late on Thursday night green-flagging the 122-year-old Haffkine Institute to produce the Bharat Biotech's Covaxin for one-year under a technology transfer agreement.
Shortly after the announcement, Thackeray thanked the PM for the formal nod.
The Haffkine Institute has the capacity to produce 22-crore doses annually, which would immensely help the ongoing vaccination drive in the country.