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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

No newborn calf serum in Covaxin: Health Ministry, Bharat Biotech

After Congress' Gaurav Pandhi shared an RTI response on Twitter, Bharat Biotech and the Health Ministry clarified that the final product of Covaxin does not contain newborn calf serum.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: June 16, 2021 2:58:59 pm
Covid vaccine children, Covid vaccine children india, Covid vaccine children trials, AIIMS covid vaccine trials, India covid vaccine for children, vaccine children covid, vaccine child covid, covid vaccine for under 12, coronavirus vaccine news, vaccine news latest india, india covid vaccine latest newsBharat Biotech clarified that the newborn calf serum is not present in the final product of Covaxin. (File)

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday clarified that the Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin does not contain newborn calf serum. The manufacturing company also stated that while the serum is used in the process of making the vaccine, it is not present in the final product.

The ministry in a statement said that facts have been “twisted and misrepresented” in some social media posts which suggested that indigenously developed Covaxin contains newborn calf serum.

Newborn calf serum is used only for the preparation and growth of vero cells. Serum from bovine and other animal are standard enrichment ingredient used globally for vero cell growth, it added.

Vero cells are used to establish cell lives which help in the production of vaccines. This technique has been used for decades in developing vaccines against polio, rabies, and influenza.

After growth, the vero cells are washed in water and with chemicals, also technically known as buffer, multiple times to make them free from newborn calf serum. The vero cells are then infected with coronavirus for viral growth, the health ministry said.

The vero cells are completely destroyed in the process of viral growth. Thereafter, the grown virus is also killed (inactivated) and purified, it said.

The killed or inactivated virus is then used to make the final vaccine. No calf serum is used in the formulation of the final vaccine, according to the statement.

“Hence, 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.”

The clarification comes after Congress leader Gaurav Pandhi tweeted that the government has admitted covaxin consists newborn calf serum.

Covaxin manufacturers Bharat Biotech also clarified in a statement on that “newborn calf serum is used in manufacturing of viral vaccines. It’s used for cells’ growth, but neither used in growth of SARS CoV2 virus nor in final formulation,” news agency ANI reported.

“Covaxin is highly purified to contain only inactivated virus components by removing other impurities,” the pharma company added. “Bovine serum is widely used in the manufacture of vaccines globally for several decades. The usage of newborn calf serum was transparently documented in several publications including Hamster Efficacy Study over the last 9 months,” it said.

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