To address the country’s COVID-19 vaccine shortage, the government is exploring the possibility of boosting vaccine production, including identifying manufacturing sites for locally developed Covaxin outside of India, sources said.
The government also intends to address the issue with the World Health Organization (WHO) to step up production of Covaxin.
He will also discuss with Moderna, Johnson and Johnson and other vaccine manufacturers the issue of voluntary licensing to third-party manufacturers in India on the basis of technology transfer.
These issues were discussed at an inter-ministerial meeting on May 18 to deliberate on options, including voluntary license, compulsory license, and government use authorization under the Patent Act 1970, available for increase the availability of drugs and vaccines used for the treatment of COVID. -19.
The Department of External Affairs has also been asked to take up the issue with AstraZeneca, the maker of Covishield, to encourage them to grant more voluntary licenses in India.
The MEA and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) will also prepare a roadmap to address raw material supply constraints for Covishield and identify sources of raw materials, sources said.
Regarding the Pfizer vaccine, the Department for the Promotion of Industry and Domestic Trade (DPIIT) will take up the matter with MEA, Niti Aayog and the Legal Secretary to prepare a status report on the issue of the agreement. compensation and liability offered by the vaccine manufacturer, they added. .
Many states have complained about the vaccine shortage. To address this issue, the government has taken steps to speed up production of Covaxin.
Last week, Niti Aayog member (Health) VK Paul said Covaxin needed a biosafety-3 lab, a facility that is not available to everyone.
The DBT and the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) have been asked to identify manufacturers with a BSL-3 facility as well as those who can create such a facility to increase manufacturing sites in India, sources said.
âThe MEA (was requested) to resume the exercise of identifying Covaxin manufacturing sites around the world in consultation with DBT. The DoHFW (Department of Family Health and Welfare) could take the WHO to stimulate the manufacture of Covaxin, “she said. mentionned.
DBT has been asked to inform about incentives, including royalties, granted to Bharat Biotech for the licensing of manufacturing Covaxin on the basis of technology transfer.
Last month, DBT announced a plan to dramatically increase production of Covaxin.
This included stringing at three public sector companies – Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation Ltd, Mumbai, a PSU under the government of Maharashtra; Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), Hyderabad, a facility under National Dairy; and Bharat Immunologicals and Biologicals Limited (BIBCOL), Bulandshahr, a PSU under DBT.
Paul had said 7.5 crore should be produced by August and 10 crore by September.
DBT also said last week that the Gujarat Biotechnology Research Center, Department of Science and Technology of the Government of Gujarat, as well as Hester Biosciences and OmniBRx, have also stepped up their discussions with Bharat Biotech to expand Covaxin technology and produce at least 20 million doses. per month.
Technology transfer agreements have been finalized with all manufacturers.
In addition, plans are underway to manufacture the vaccine in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
The government last week estimated that by December the country will have 216 crore of vaccine, including 75 crore from Covishield and 55 crore from Covaxin.
In addition, Biological E is expected to produce 30 crore doses, Zydus Cadila 5 crore, Serum Institute of India 20 crore doses of Novavax and Bharat Biotech 10 crore doses of its nasal vaccine, while Gennova will make available 6 crore doses and Sputnik V 15.6. crore doses, he said.
The candidate vaccines of the nasal vaccine Biological E, Zydus Cadila, Gennova, Bharat Biotech are at different stages of clinical trials.
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