Bharat Biotech on Sunday announced the commercial launch of the first batch of Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, from its Chiron Behring vaccine facility in Ankleshwar, Gujarat. The Ankleshwar plant has the capacity to produce one crore doses of the Covid-19 vaccine a month starting Sunday. Vaccines manufactured from the Ankleshwar plant will be available for supplies starting September 2021.
A total of 7.65 crore doses of the Covaxin have been administered in the country till date. Chiron Behring Vaccines is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bharat Biotech. The company plans to produce 20 crore doses of Covaxin per annum.
Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya released the first commercial batch of Covaxin in Ankleshwar on Sunday. The minister said India was running one of the largest vaccination programmes in the world due to the development of these indigenous vaccines. “The increase in the production capacity of Covid-19 vaccines would give further impetus to the pace of vaccination in India,” Mandaviya said. It was a matter of pride that the research and production of vaccines of two companies — Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila — took place in India, the minister said.
Krishna Ella, chairman & managing director, Bharat Biotech, said the company was marching towards the goal of annualised capacity of one billion doses. Bharat Biotech will be achieving one billion doses of annualised capacity across facilities in Hyderabad, Malur, Ankleshwar and Pune. Bharat Biotech was also exploring manufacturing partnerships with its partners in other countries for further augmentation. Suchitra Ella, joint managing director, Bharat Biotech, said efforts over the last one year had fructified and they were closer to achieving their goal of providing Covaxin to the country and overseas.
Chiron Behring Vaccines was acquired from Hoechst and is one of the largest manufacturers of rabies vaccines in the world. Bharat Biotech is now using the Chiron Behring filling facility for making Covaxin. Production trials began in early June. Under the National Covid-19 vaccination programme, launched on January 16 this year, 63.17 crore vaccines have been administered till Sunday afternoon.