The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has finalised arrangements with Hyderabad-based vaccine manufacturer Biological-E to reserve 30 crores of Covid-19 vaccine doses. These vaccine doses will be manufactured and stockpiled by M/s Biological-E from August-December 2021. For this purpose, MoHFW would be making an advance payment of Rs 1,500 crore to M/s Biological-E.
The Covid-19 vaccine of Biological-E is currently undergoing phase-III clinical trial after showing promising results in Phase-I and II clinical trials. The vaccine being developed by Biological-E is an RBD protein sub-unit vaccine and is likely to be available in the next few months, MoHFW said.
The proposal of M/s Biological-E was examined and recommended for approval after due diligence by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC).
The arrangement with M/s Biological-E is part of the wider endeavour of the union government to encourage indigenous vaccine manufacturers by providing them support in Research & Development and also financial support, the ministry said.
Biological-E Covid vaccine candidate has been supported by the union government from Preclinical stage to phase-III studies. Department of Biotechnology has not only provided financial assistance in terms of grant-in-aid of over Rs 100 crores but has also partnered with Biological-E to conduct all animal challenge and assay studies through its Research Institute Translational Health Science Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad.
This has been undertaken as part of the union government’s ‘Mission Covid Suraksha – the Indian Covid-19 Vaccine Development Mission’ launched to reinforce and accelerate Covid-19 vaccine development efforts as part of the third stimulus package, Atmanirbhar 3.0.
The mission aims to bring to the citizens a safe, efficacious, affordable and accessible Covid-19 Vaccine. The Mission is supporting the development of five to six Covid-19 vaccine candidates. Some of these are now closer to licensure and introduction in public health systems. It has not just accelerated the Covid-19 vaccine development efforts, but also fostered a robust end-to-end vaccine development ecosystem in the country that will be available for other ongoing and future research and developmental activities for other vaccines.