Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) is an Indian multinational company based in Hyderabad known for curating India’s own Covid-19 vaccine – Covaxin. Covaxin is one of the two vaccines in India that is spearheading the vaccination drive in the country.
It is primarily a biotechnology company focused on developing drugs and manufacturing vaccines, pharmaceutical products etc. Preparations to curate a Covid-19 vaccine began in April 2020.
The company partnered with US-based company Flu Gen and the University of Wisconsin-Madison to create the vaccine. With the successful launch of Covaxin, the company has moved to formulate a single dose intranasal vaccine.
Announced in September 2020, BBIL partnered with US-based company Precision Virologics and Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, to formulate the vaccine. It is reportedly undergoing clinical trials.
It released its first commercial batch of covaxin from the Chiron Behring Vaccines centre in Ankleshwar, Gujarat, on Sunday, which reportedly has the capacity to produce more than 10 million doses every month.
The Chiron Behring Vaccines is an entirely owned subsidiary by BBIL and was acquired from GlaxoSmithKline in 2019.
The commercial batch production began in June with the inauguration of Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya and Suchitra Ella, joint managing director and Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman in attendance.
Ankleshwar is the third facility after Biovet Malur Facility near Bangalore and the Hyderabad facility. Initially, the Ankleshwar facility focused on manufacturing BSL-2+ anti-rabies, but it has shifted to Covaxin to meet the demands.
Search for International Manufacturers
On Sunday, the company announced that they are in search of plausible international manufacturers to assist them in their goal of producing a billion doses of Covaxin every year.
Due to the massive vaccination drive, Bharat Biotech is struggling to procure adequate quantities to meet the demands. Lately, the company has failed to meet the supply requirements of the Government.
According to the data reported by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya in the parliament in July, Bharat Biotech would produce 25 million doses in July and 35 million in August, which is significantly lower than the Government’s expectations.
The company stated that they are on the lookout for international manufacturers that specialise in the commercial production of inactivated viral vaccines.
The chairman and managing director, Dr Krishna Ella, said in a statement “ “We want to ensure that Bharat Biotech can ably meet the demand for Covaxin such that individuals across the country, and the globe, have access to the vaccine.”
According to a data survey, more than half of India’s population have been reported to have received the first jab of a Covid vaccine.
The Indian Government aims to vaccinate all the people by the end of the year. In terms of Covid-cases, India is the second country after the US to report more than 32 million cases.