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Indian firms showcase Covid vaccine to envoys of 60 nations

Indian firms showcase Covid vaccine to envoys of 60 nations

“Future has arrived,” tweeted Freddy Svane, Denmark’s Ambassador to India, during his visit to the Hyderabad biotech companies – Bharat Biotech and Biological E on Wednesday indicating his appreciation of India’s Covid-19 vaccine development efforts.

There were ambassadors and high commissioners from 60 countries who flew down to Hyderabad on Wednesday to get a first-hand knowledge of the work being done by these companies to roll out the Covid-19 vaccine. The high profile visit signifies India’s primacy in vaccine development. These 60 countries are: Rwanda, Senegal, Singapore, Sudan, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Slovenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bhutan, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Brunei, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Colombia, Cote D Ivoire, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eq. Guinea, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Hungary, Iceland, Paraguay, Peru, Nigeria, Panama, Tajikistan, Togo, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, S Korea, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay, United States, Vietnam, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Botswana. 

Dr. Krishna Ella, Chairman & Managing Director of Bharat Biotech International Limited briefed the foreign delegates on the development of the vaccine. In a first, a visit of more than 60 Heads of Missions was arranged to the research and manufacturing facilities of the leading biotechnology companies, Bharat Biotech and Biological E, in Hyderabad.

“Covaxin, India's indigenous Covid-19 vaccine by Bharat Biotech is developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)- National Institute of Virology (NIV). This indigenous, inactivated vaccine is developed and manufactured in Bharat Biotech's BSL-3 (Bio Safety Level 3) bio-containment facility. Covaxin is highly purified and inactivated vaccine, manufactured in a Vero cell manufacturing platform with an excellent safety track record of more than 300 million doses,” Bharat Biotech said in an official press release.

“Covaxin has been evaluated in approximately 1,000 subjects in Phase I and Phase II clinical trials, with promising safety and immunogenicity results. The Phase III human clinical trials of Covaxin began in November, involving 26,000 volunteers across India. This is India's first and only Phase III efficacy study for a Covid-19 vaccine, and the largest phase III efficacy trial ever conducted for any vaccine in India,” the release further added.

“The development and clinical evaluation of Covaxin marks a significant milestone for novel vaccinology in India. Covaxin has garnered interest from several countries worldwide for supplies and introduction.” Last week the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to give sanction to Covid-19 vaccine to Pfizer, but, the third world is counting on India.

Pfizer’s vaccine is costly and requires storage at extremely low temperatures of -80 degree Celsius. Developing countries do not have such storage infrastructure and therefore will not be able to easily distribute the vaccine. The Indian vaccine will be cheap and can be stored at normal refrigeration temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India is ready to roll out the vaccine within a few weeks. India is also known for the manufacturing of pharmaceutical drugs mostly generic drugs. During Covid-19, India supplied hydroxychloroquine drugs to more than 140 countries. Previously, IndiaNarrative.com has reported that countries belonging to the 10-nation Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN) have also been wary of using vaccines under the Made-in-China brand and counting on India for Covid-19 vaccine.