COVID-19: IIL, Bharat Biotech join hands to produce Covaxin

Hyderabad: City-based Indian Immunological limited (IIL) andpharma company Bharat Biotech have reached an agreement for IIL to supply the substance required for the manufacturing of the Covaxin vaccine, to fight the COVID-19 virus.As per the agreement, IIL will supply the drug substance needed for the manufacturing of the Covaxin vaccine to Bharat Biotech, said a press release from the Centre on Saturday.

IIL, a facility under the National Dairy Development Board, has been granted funds under the central government’sMission COVID Suraksha programme to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine production in India. Managing director of Indian Immunological Limited, Dr K. Anand Kumar, said that IIL is planning to start the production of the drug substance needed for Covaxin from June 15, and that it will send out the first batch to Bharat Biotech limited by July.

The development comes after the central government decided to support some public sector companies (or undertakings) with grants under the Mission COVID Suraksha. One such PSU is the Hyderabad based Indian Immunological limited (IIL), which a facility under the National Dairy Development Board.

Stating that Indian Immunologicals is expected to produce the Covaxin drug substance for about 10-15 million doses per month, Dr. Anand Kumar said it will be initially 2-3 million doses and will be scaled up to 6-7 million per month later in the year.

Dr.Kumar added that they are converting the Karakapatla manufacturing unit of IIL near Hyderabad into a ‘Bio Safety’ Level -3 (BSL3) facility for the production of the Covaxin drug substance. The IIL is also working on another COVID-19 vaccine and the animal trials are underway currently and is expected to come out by next year for human vaccination.

Under Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 Mission, the COVID Suraksha programme was announced by the Government of India (GoI), to accelerate the development and production of Indigenous COVID-19 Vaccines. This is being implemented by the Department of Biotechnology. The Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), Hyderabad has been sanctioned a grant of Rs. 60 crore towards enhancing production capabilities.