The government is making an advance payment of Rs 1,500 crore to Hyderabad-based vaccine manufacturing company Biological-E for 300 million doses of the second India-developed Covid vaccine from August-December 2021, the health ministry said on Thursday.
The Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Biological-E is currently undergoing Phase-3 clinical trials. The vaccine is an RBD protein sub-unit vaccine and is likely to be available in the coming weeks.
“The proposal of M/s Biological-E was examined and recommended for approval after due diligence by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19,” the statement said.
The company has been supported by the government from pre-clinical to third phase study phase. The Department of Biotechnology has provided financial aid of Rs 100 crore given as grant-in-aid to the firm and also partnered with Biological-E to conduct all animal challenge and assay studies through its Research Institute Translational Health Science Technology Institute in Faridabad.
India is expecting a supply of 2 billion doses by the end of December 2021, enough to vaccinate the entire adult population of the country. Government recently said it would be able to give up to 10 million jabs a day by mid-July or early August.
Biological-E’s supply of 300 million is part of the future supply that the government has envisaged.
The Health Ministry said that the Mission COVID Suraksha- the Indian COVID-19 Vaccine Development is supporting development of 5-6 Covid-19 vaccine candidates some of which are now closer to getting a license 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,” the health ministry statement said.