Developing Covaxin in short span of time was big challenge, says Bharat Biotech director

Dr V Krishna Mohan said that the Central government extending grants of Rs 50 lakh to Rs 50 crore to individual pharma companies for development of vaccines has made it easier for them to devise better developmental plans.

The development of Covaxin within the timeframe of 10 months that Bharat Biotech had was an enormous challenge, despite the end result being a successful one, the Hyderabad-based Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer’s director Dr V Krishna Mohan said on Thursday.

Addressing a session on India’s vaccine leadership at the Bengaluru Tech Summit, 2021, he said, “This was a new disease that hit the world. This was a daunting challenge for the pharma sector and the prospective vaccine makers. We were given just 10 months to develop a vaccine to fight the infection.”

Dr Mohan added that the government of India took the right steps at this juncture and the Biotechnology Ministry had woken up to the reality at the right time. “There were no such past precedents and it seemed impossible to make a vaccine in such a short span of time,” he added.

Explaining the manufacturing process, Dr Mohan said that the company had chalked out a plan to make and develop the vaccine in India. He added that it is difficult to quantify the hardwork that went into the making of the vaccine and he could assure that they never compromised on the quality or efficacy of the jabs at any point of time.

The director of Bharat Biotech also went on to say that the Indian Council of Medical Research has positively changed its style of functioning in the last decade. “The Central government extending grants of Rs 50 lakh to Rs 50 crore to individual pharma companies for development of vaccines has made it easier for them to devise better developmental plans,” he added.

Participating in the session, Deepak Sapra, CEO of API & Services at Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, said, “Covid-19 has taught us tough lessons. With the help of our Russian partner, we could develop the Sputnik V vaccine which not only helped India but also other countries. However, when it comes to vaccine development, India still has a long way to go.”

Divya Bizwan, senior vice-president of Aurobindo Pharma, said there was no dearth of talent in India but, there is hardly any recognition when it comes to the pharma sector. “It is necessary for vaccine makers to recognize this need and be more encouraging to the pool of talent that the sector has,” he added.

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