New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday held discussions with Dr Reddy's Laboratories Chairman Dr Satish Reddy in New Delhi. The meeting was held to discuss the Sputnik V vaccine production and its supply. In a tweet, Mandaviya said, "Held a meeting with Dr Satish Reddy, Chairman of Dr Reddys Lab. Had a discussion on the production of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine and its supply".Mandaviya on Tuesday informed Parliament that 4 more Indian pharmaceutical companies may start vaccine production by October-November to accelerate the inoculation drive. He had said, "Two companies -- Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute -- are supplying the vaccines to the government. Sputnik vaccine is also available, production of which has begun". The Hyderabad-based drug major has already stated that the locally manufactured Sputnik V will be available from September-October.Dr Reddy's has tied up with Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) for Sputnik V production in India and launched the vaccine here in May 2021, after receiving Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in April 2021. Along with Dr Reddy's, RDIF has tied up with six Indian drug makers for Sputnik V vaccine production in India. Dr Reddy's is in a pact with RDIF to sell 250 million vials of Sputnik V in India.Sputnik V uses two different vectors for the two shots in a course of vaccination. Its efficacy was determined to be 91.6 per cent.Meanwhile, India's COVID-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 48.93 cr cumulatively in India, claimed a bulletin released by the Health Ministry. A total of 48,93,42,295 vaccine doses have been administered through 57,21,937 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 a.m. on Thursday. A total of 37,55,115 vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hours.--IANSavr/bg
New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has said that four more Indian pharmaceutical companies may start the vaccine production by October-November to accelerate the inoculation drive.He said this in Parliament on Tuesday.Giving the data on vaccine allocation, the Minister said that even 7 to 9 per cent of the doses that remain unutilised by the private hospitals are being used by the government vaccination centres.Mandaviya added that Biologicals E and Novartis vaccines will also be available in the market in the coming days, while Zydus Cadila will soon get an emergency-use nod from an expert committee. Replying to a query by Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Amar Patnaik about the vaccine roll out plan for 12-18 years old, the Minister said, "The government's target is to vaccinate the entire population and constant efforts are being made to achieve this." "Two companies -- Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute -- are supplying the vaccines to the government. Sputnik vaccine is also available and production of which has begun," added Mandaviya. He informed Parliament that India has administered 47 crore doses of vaccine so far.However, the Health Ministry data showed that a total of 62,53,741 Covid vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hours. The total number of vaccinated people against Covid-19 in India stands at 48,52,86,570 so far. The ministry data pointed out further that around 50,37,22,630 vaccine doses have been provided to the States/UTs so far, through all sources and a further 49,19,780 doses are in the pipeline. Around 2,60,17,573 balance and unutilized Covid vaccine doses are still available with the States/UTs and private hospitals to be administered.Meanwhile, India on Wednesday took a high jump in daily Covid infection and reported a total of 42,625 new cases across the nation in 24 hours. India's total tally of Covid-19 cases stands at 3,17,69,132.--IANSavr/dpb
Moscow, July 7 (IANS) Pharma major Morepen Laboratories has started the production of the test batch of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in Himachal Pradesh, the company has said.The first batch of the vaccine will be shipped to Russia's Gamaleya Center for quality control. Sputnik V, which was granted emergency use authorisation in India in April, was the third to be launched in the country for its nationwide Covid-19 vaccination programme, after the Covaxin and Covishield.Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Morepen had signed a cooperation agreement in June 2021 for transferring the technology. RDIF had also reached agreements earlier with other pharmaceutical companies in India -- Gland Pharma, Hetero Biopharma, Panacea Biotec, Stelis Biopharma and Virchow Biotech."As the pandemic is yet far from over and new, more dangerous variants of coronavirus are being detected in various regions of the world, RDIF is increasing capacities for production of Sputnik V in India, one of the key hubs. "Agreement with Morepen Laboratories provides for a larger amount of Sputnik V to be available both for India and our partners globally to speed up the vaccination with one of the best vaccines in the world," said Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the RDIF, in a statement on Tuesday.The Sputnik V vaccine is based on a proven and well-studied platform of human adenoviral vectors, which cause the common cold and have been around for thousands of years. The vaccine is two-shot and studies have shown it to be 97.6 per cent effective against Covid-19. It is priced less than $10 per shot, making it affordable around the world.RDIF has agreed with partners in India to provide for production of more than 850 million doses of Sputnik V per year. So far, Sputnik V has been registered in 67 countries globally with a total population of over 3.5 billion people."We are delighted to partner with RDIF for the prestigious project of Sputnik V production in India. This would be our privilege to work jointly on expanding the production base in India," added Sushil Suri, Chairman and Managing Director of Morepen Laboratories.Suri said the company looks for a "long term relationship with RDIF".--IANSrvt/in
Mumbai, June 24 (IANS) With the threat of a Covid-19 'third wave' looming on the horizon, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday set a target of producing 3,000 tonnes per day liquid medical oxygen.Currently, the state's LMO production is barely 1,300 tonnes daily and he called upon the oxygen manufacturers to hike their oxygen production and storage facilities on a priority basis.Unveiling the 'Oxygen Swavalamban Yojana' before the representatives of major oxygen manufacturing companies in the state, Thackeray said that the industry has been given several incentives to enhance the capacity and appealed to them to put in place extra production and storage capabilities within the next 3-4 weeks to meet the LMO requirements of the possible 'third wave'.Some of the oxygen manufacturing companies officials present at the virtual meet included Linde India Ltd. Managing Director M. Banerjee, JSW Techno Project President G. Rathore, Inox Air Products Director Siddharth Jain, Tia Nippon Sansui India's MD N. Vaidyanathan, Air Liquid India Holdings MD Bertrant Moni, Kolhapur Oxygen & Acetylene's CEO R. Gadwe and All India Industrial Gas Manufacturers' Association President Saket Tiku among others.The CM said that during the second wave, the demand for LMO had increased tremendously, and despite a respite, in some districts the number of Covid-19 patients is still high."A third wave of Covid-19 is expected. A new variant of the coronavirus has been detected. But we do not know its lethality. Given the potential risks, it is important to make ourselves self-sufficient in oxygen while we still have the time to make preparations," Thackeray urged.While reiterating that the first priority is to save peoples' lives, the CM admitted that owing to the lockdown, even the industries are suffering but the restrictions are being eased slowly.He called upon the LMO industry to make storages at full capacity and also set up projects in the remote areas of the state to make oxygen easily available to the patients there, for which the state government would give full cooperation.This would include transportation with adequate number of oxygen tankers, increasing the number of oxygen filling points, converting nitrogen carrying tankers into oxygen tankers, etc.--IANSqn/bg
Hyderabad, June 20 (IANS) Telangana Industries Minister K.T. Rama Rao has demanded the Central government establish a Vaccine Testing and Certification Laboratory in Hyderabad on war-footing to expedite production of Covid-19 vaccines.He said since Hyderabad has become the global vaccine capital, it needs this facility immediately.The state government is ready to provide required land in Hyderabad's Genome Valley for the testing centre and would also give fast track clearances for the facility, he said.In a letter to Union Health and Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan, the state minister said 30-45 days are wasted in sending vaccines developed in Hyderabad for testing to the Central Drug Laboratory in Kasauli (Himachal Pradesh).KTR, as the minister is popularly known, said if the Vaccine Testing Laboratory is established in Hyderabad, an additional 8 to 10 crore doses can be produced here every month.He pointed out that the issue is pending for a long time and the state government brought this to the notice of the Centre on a number of occasions. At least now, the government should take steps to set up the facility, he said.He said Hyderabad has become the vaccine capital of not just the country but the entire world, noting efforts were on for large-scale production of Sputnik V, Corbevax, Bharat Biotech and Johnsons & Johnson's vaccines.He said bulk of vaccine production will happen in Hyderabad for the Central government's plans to complete about 50 per cent of vaccination from August till end of 2021. There are reports that 100 crore doses for this vaccination programme of the Central government are likely to be manufactured in Hyderabad.KTR said lack of vaccination testing centre in such an important city of Hyderabad is creating various problems. The only vaccination testing laboratory is located in Kasauli, and companies based in Hyderabad have to send every batch to this laboratory, hundreds of kilometres away.The vaccine batches have to be sent from Hyderabad to Delhi by aircraft and from there they have to be transported to Kasauli by road as this is the only mode of transport available. The entire testing is taking 30 to 45 days. Biotech companies in Hyderabad say that precious time is getting lost due to this.KTR said that setting up a second vaccination testing centre in the country at Hyderabad can expedite manufacturing of vaccines.The Centre should realise the need for setting up the testing centre in Hyderabad to produce more vaccines in the shortest time to provide required doses available for the biggest vaccination programme in history, he said.He said if the Vaccine Testing Laboratory is established in Hyderabad, 100 crore vaccine doses can be manufactured here in six months. Keeping in view the need for a large number of doses, the facility should be set up immediately, he added.--IANSms/vd
New Delhi, June 17 (IANS) People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, on Thursday, requested the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to replace Newborn Calf Serum (NBCS) with animal-free chemical solution, in the production of the Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin.PETA wrote a letter on Thursday morning to DCGI's Dr V.G. Somani, to direct vaccine manufacturers, to consider its proposal following report that Covaxin, India's indigenous Covid-19 vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), uses NBCS during the production stage, which is extracted from the blood of slaughtered calves under 20 days old."The calves used in the extraction of this serum are taken away from their mothers shortly after birth, which traumatises and distresses both the mother and calf," says PETA India Science Policy Adviser Dr Ankita Pandey."PETA India looks to the Drugs Controller to ensure that vaccine manufacturers switch to available animal-free media that overcome the limitations associated with the use of animal-derived serum."The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughterhouse) Rules, 2001, prohibits the slaughter of pregnant animals and animals under 3 months of age - therefore, the use of serum obtained by slaughtering a calf younger than 20 days of age for vaccine production should also not be allowed.Numerous states in India have banned the slaughter of cows and sometimes calves, bulls, and buffaloes. In a country where killing cows and often calves is prohibited by law, it would be considered inappropriate and unethical by most to import and use NBCS manufactured by killing those same animals in other countries.The use of animal-derived components such as NBCS in vaccine production compromises the quality and reproducibility of research and is often associated with the risk of contamination by non-human proteins and pathogens.The use of animal-derived serum could also delay Covid-19 vaccine production if shortages are experienced as vaccine production increases -- a concern avoided by the use of available, animal-free products."Animal-free media are already commercially available and can be used to grow Vero cells for virus production instead of using NBCS extracted by slaughtering calves," PETA India said in the letter.PETA India argues that modernising methods of vaccine production is an immediate necessity -- particularly in a country like India, whose public has religious, cultural, and emotional connections with cows and calves and where harming them is a punishable offence."PETA India and its affiliate scientists have been leading efforts to end the use of animals for the production of serum. PETA Science Consortium International, of which PETA India is a member, has online resources that researchers can use to replace foetal bovine serum and NBCS in cell culture media."PETA India's request comes a day after the Central government released a clarification that Covaxin does not contain newborn calf serum at all.Noting that "facts have been twisted and misrepresented", the government said: "Newborn Calf Serum is used only for preparation or growth of vero cells."Noting that different kinds of bovine and other animal serum are standard enrichment ingredient, and they are used globally for vero cell growth, the Union Health Ministry said vero cells are used to establish cell lives which help in production of vaccines."This technique has been used for decades in Polio, Rabies, and Influenza vaccines. These vero cells, after the growth, are washed with water, with chemicals (also technically known as buffer), many times to make it free from the newborn calf serum. Thereafter, these vero cells are infected with coronavirus for viral growth."The vero cells are completely destroyed in the process of viral growth. Thereafter this grown virus is also killed (inactivated) and purified. This killed virus is then used to make the final vaccine, and in the final vaccine formulation no calf serum is used."Hence, the Ministry said, the final vaccine Covaxin does not contain newborn calf serum at all and the calf serum is not an ingredient of the final vaccine product.--IANSrak/skp/
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