To speed up availability, two more centres set up to test Covid-19 vaccines in India
The facilities have come up in Pune and Hyderabad, both of which are vaccine manufacturing hubs
Two additional laboratories have been set up to expedite the testing and pre-release certification of new as well as existing Covid-19 vaccines.
Set up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India, the vaccine testing facilities have come up at the National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune (Maharashtra), and National Institute of Animal Biotechnology (NIAB), Hyderabad (Telangana).
The two Autonomous Research Institutes under the DBT have been designated as Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL), for batch testing and quality control of vaccines, the Ministry of Science and Technology said on Sunday.
Till now, there was only one such facility in the country, the Central Drugs Laboratory at Kasauli (Himachal Pradesh). This is the National Control Laboratory for testing and pre-release certification of Immunobiologicals (vaccines and antisera) meant for human use in India.
The new facilities are geared up to test existing as well as other new Covid-19 vaccines.
The additional testing facilities were needed to deal with the ramped up Covid-19 vaccine production in the country. Samples of vaccines being imported into the country, like the Russian Sputnik V, also need to be tested and certified before use.
The new state-of-the-art facilities, set up through finding by the PM CARES Fund, are expected to test about 60 batches of vaccines per month.
This will not only expedite the vaccine manufacture and supply but also be logistically convenient considering that both Pune and Hyderabad are the two vaccine manufacturing hubs, the ministry pointed out.
The Serum Institute of India, which manufactures Covishield, is based in Pune while Bharat Biotech, the manufacturers of Covaxin is a Hyderabad-based company.
The facility at DBT-NCCS, Pune, has already been been notified as Central Drugs Laboratory for testing and lot release of COVID-19 vaccines thorough a Gazette notification issued by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on June 28.
The facility at DBT-NIAB, Hyderabad is likely to receive the necessary notification shortly.
According to the Ministry of Science and Technology, DBT-NCCS and DBT-NIAB have been the pillars for many aspects of infectious disease related work in India and have contributed to advancement of cutting-edge research output in frontier areas of Biotechnology relevant to human health and disease.