India's Bharat Biotech to share its Covid vaccine code with other drug firms

14 May 2021

Amid growing demand for waiving intellectual property rights (IPR) over COVID-19 vaccines and even granting Compulsory License to drug firms to manufacture the vaccines to tide over the shortage, indigenously developed coronavirus vaccine maker from India, Bharat Biotech, has welcomed other pharma companies to manufacture its Covaxin.

NITI Aayog member (Health), Dr VK Paul said the government has issued an open invitation to companies willing to collaborate with the Hyderabad-based company in manufacturing the vaccine, and that the government will provide full support to these companies.

Dr Paul, member of government think-tank NITI Aayog, said the company has agreed with the proposals made by several states to share the chemistry of Covaxin and boost its production at a time when the country is facing an acute shortage of covid vaccines. However, Dr Paul also stressed that Covaxin can only be manufactured in the Biosafety level 3 (BSL3) labs.

The government also emphasized that it is consistently and proactively working to secure and enhance the availability of vaccines.

Technology transfer deals signed

Two central government public sector undertakings (PSUs) namely, Indian Immunologicals Ltd (IIL) and Bibcol have entered into a technology transfer agreement with Bharat Biotech. In addition, one state government undertaking, Haffkine Institute, has also entered into a technology transfer agreement with Bharat Biotech.

IIL will be in a position to start production of Covaxin from September 2021, while Haffkine Institute and Bibcol will start production of Covaxin from November 2021, noted a statement from India's health ministry.

The government of India presently is also engaged in proactive dialogue with Bharat Biotech and some other PSUs, added the statement, as well as private companies to execute technology transfer agreements.

Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the Centre should share the vaccine formula of Covaxin and Covishield with other capable pharmaceutical companies to scale up production in the country.

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