The Union Ministry of Health has finalised arrangements with Hyderabad based vaccine manufacturer Biological-E to reserve 30 crore of COVID-19 vaccine doses. These vaccine doses will be manufactured and stockpiled by M/s Biological-E from August-December 2021.
For this purpose, the Union Ministry of Health would be making an advance payment of Rs. 1500 crore to M/s Biological-E.
The COVID-19 vaccine of Biological-E is currently undergoing Phase-3 clinical trial after showing promising results in Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials. The vaccine being developed by Biological-E is a RBD protein sub-unit vaccine and is likely to be available in the next few months.
The proposal of M/s Biological-E was examined and recommended for approval after due diligence by National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC).
The arrangement with M/s Biological-E is part of the wider endeavour of government to encourage indigenous vaccine manufacturers by providing them support in Research & Development (R&D) and also financial support.
Biological-E COVID Vaccine candidate has been supported by government from Preclinical stage to Phase-3 studies. Department of Biotechnology has not only provided financial assistance in terms of grant-in-aid of over Rs 100 cr but has also partnered with Biological-E to conduct all animal challenge and assay studies through its Research Institute Translational Health Science Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad.
This has been undertaken as part of government’s ‘Mission COVID Suraksha- the Indian COVID-19 Vaccine Development Mission’ which was launched to reinforce and accelerate COVID-19 vaccine development efforts as part of the third stimulus package, Atmanirbhar 3.0.
The Mission aims to bring to the citizens a safe, efficacious, affordable and accessible COVID-19 Vaccine. The Mission is supporting development of 5-6 COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Some of these are now closer to licensure and introduction in public health systems. It has not just accelerated COVID-19 Vaccine development efforts, but also fostered a robust end-to-end vaccine development ecosystem in the country that will be available for other on-going and future research and developmental activities for other vaccines.