Bharat Biotech has requested the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to extend the shelf life of its COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, from six months to 24 months when stored between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.
The Hyderabad-based private vaccine manufacturer has submitted updated stability data of Covaxin to back its claim for the extension, according to news agency PTI.
Bharat Biotech has announced that it will supply Covaxin to state governments at Rs 600 for a dose and to private hospitals at Rs 1,200 per dose. The company also said that it will export the vaccine at $15-20 (Rs 1,124-1,499) per dose. The prices are higher than Serum Institute’s Covishield which will be supplied to private hospitals at Rs 600 a dose and to state governments at Rs 400.
Covaxin is one of the two vaccines, along with Serum Institute of India's Covishield, being used in India's vaccination programme against the coronavirus. Around 10 million doses of the vaccine are being produced every month. The government has provided the Hyderabad-based company with another Rs 1,500 crore to ramp up production and its second factory at Bengaluru will also start producing the vaccine soon.
DCGI had extended the shelf life of Covishield (AstraZeneca-Oxford) vaccine from six to nine months in February. The Serum Institute of India is producing vaccine 65 to 70 million doses of the vaccine which is the mainstay of India’s inoculation drive.
Covaxin has been developed jointly by Bharat Biotech, Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology (NIV). The inoculation is based on the coronavirus sample isolated by the NIV. It also is the first fully indigenous vaccine against coronavirus.