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To help accelerate vaccine candidates Govt launches ‘Mission Covid Suraksha’.

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The government has launched ‘Mission Covid Suraksha’ to help accelerate the development of approximately 5-6 vaccine candidates and ensure that these are brought closer to licensure and introduction in the market, the Department of Biotechnology said on Wednesday.

The mission envisages Covid-19 vaccine development with end-to-end focus from preclinical through clinical development and manufacturing and regulatory facilitation, the DBT said.

Earlier this month, the government had announced a package of Rs 900 crore for vaccines.

“Government of India (GOI) announced the third stimulus package of Rs 900 crore for the Mission Covid-19 Suraksha- the Indian Covid-19 Vaccine Development Mission. This grant will be provided to the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) for research and development of Indian Covid-19 vaccines.

“This will help accelerate development of approximately five-six vaccine candidates and ensure that these are brought closer to licensure and introduction in the market for consideration of regulatory authorities for introduction in public health systems to combat further spread of Covid19 infection,” the DBT said.

Earlier, the DBT had announced programme for vaccine development and other Covid-19-related solutions, but this mission will be dedicated purely for development of vaccines, a DBT official said.

A total of 10 vaccine candidates have been supported by the DBT so far in both academia and industry. As on date, five vaccine candidates are in human trials, including the Russian Vaccine Sputnik-V, with at least three more in advanced stages of pre-clinical to enter human trials shortly.

The important objectives of the fund will be to accelerate pre-clinical and clinical development, licensure of Covid-19 vaccine candidates that are currently in clinical stages or ready to enter clinical stage of development.

Its aim is to also establish clinical trial sites and strengthen the existing immunoassay laboratories, central laboratories and suitable facilities for animal studies, production facilities and other test facilities to support Covid-19 vaccine development, the DBT said.

“The other important objective will be supporting development of common harmonized protocols, training, data management systems, regulatory submissions, internal and external quality management systems and accreditations,” it added.

Capabilities for process development, cell line development and manufacturing of GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) batches for animal toxicology studies and clinical trials will also be supported under the mission.

A key element will be development of a suitable target product profile so that vaccines being introduced through the mission have preferred characteristics applicable for India.

Business

More than ₹1000 cr extent of damage due to fire at Pune plant :Serum CEO.

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The Serum Institute of India incurred damage worth over Rs 1000 crore in a fire incident at its Pune facility, the company’s CEO Adar Poonawalla said on Friday, though asserted that the supply of Covishield will not be affected due to the incident. 

Five casualties were reported at a fire incident at a five-storey under-construction building at SII’s Manjari premises in Pune on Thursday. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained though it was suspected to be ignited by welding work at the site. Another fire incident was reported in the same building later in the day, though no person died in the incident. 

Addressing media with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Poonawalla said that no vaccine was being manufactured at the facility where the fire broke out and that incident did not cause damage to the existing stock of Covishield.

“The supply of COVID-19 (vaccine) will not be affected due to the fire. No actual vaccine was being made at that facility. The extent of the damage is more than 1000 crores,” Poonawalla said. “The fire has had no impact on the production of Covishield vaccine and no damage has occurred to the existing stock either.”

Thackeray said that an investigation is underway to determine the cause and other details of the fire. The Chief Minister said that while the firm has taken the responsibility for the victims’ families, the Maharashtra government will provide other help if needed.

“An inquiry is currently being conducted. Until the investigation report comes in, we cannot come to any conclusions,” Thackeray said.

(With ANI inputs)

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