Putting to bed the rumours floating around in social media, the Centre on Wednesday clarified that Covaxin, India’s indigenous Covid-19 vaccine does not contain newborn calf serum at all.
“There have been some social media posts regarding composition of the Covaxin vaccine where it has been suggested that it contains the newborn calf serum. Facts have been twisted and misrepresented in these posts,” the ministry stated.
“Newborn Calf Serum is used only for preparation or growth of vero cells.” It added.
Explaining the vero cells in detail, the Ministry stated that different kinds of bovine and other animal serum are standard enrichment ingredient, and they are used globally for vero cell growth, and has been used for decades in Polio, Rabies, and Influenza vaccines.
Vero cells are used to establish cell lives which help in production of vaccines, it further explained.
“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.”
Covaxin is India’s first indigenously developed Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biotech. It is being used on adults in India’s ongoing Covid-19 vaccination drive since January 16 this year.
Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech dispatched its Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin to nine states through the government of India and to 16 states through the respective state governments.
The company’s co-founder and joint managing director Suchitra Ella on Wednesday tweeted that Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana were supplied the vaccines through the government of India from June 8 to 14.
The Hyderabad-based vaccine maker also made supplies to 16 states during the same period. The states are Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal.