MUMBAI, June 2 (Xinhua) -- India's state-owned Haffkine BioPharma has entered into a technology transfer pact with the country's vaccine producer Bharat Biotech to produce 228 million doses per annum of COVID-19 vaccine, the government's Press Information Bureau said Wednesday.
Bharat Biotech has developed India's indigenous COVID-19 vaccine in collaboration with two state-owned agencies - Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology using whole-virion inactivated vero cell derived platform technology under the brand name Covaxin.
The Indian government has provided a grant of 8.9 million U.S. dollars while the western state of Maharashtra, with Mumbai as its political capital, has given 12.9 million U.S. dollars to Haffkine BioPharma to produce these vaccines.
"We have been given a timeline of eight months and the work is being executed on a war footing," said Sandeep Rathod, managing director of Haffkine BioPharma, which is an offshoot of the Haffkine Institute, one of the oldest biomedical research institutes in India, named after the bacteriologist Dr. Waldemar Haffkine, who invented the plague vaccine.
The vaccine production process involves two stages - drug substance and final drug product. "For production of drug substance, we need to build a Bio Safety Level 3 (BSL 3) facility, while we already have the Fill Finish facility," Rathod said.
Maharashtra is the worst-hit Indian state with 233,498 active cases and 96,198 deaths out of the over 1.7 million active cases and 335,102 deaths in the country.