Govt sets up two new vaccine testing labs

These Central Drugs Laboratories have been set up by the Department of Biotechnology at its autonomous research institutes — the National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune, and the National Institute of Animal Biotechnology (NIAB), Hyderabad.

The Union government has decided to set up two new facilities to facilitate and expedite the testing and pre-release certification of Covid-19 vaccines.

These Central Drugs Laboratories have been set up by the Department of Biotechnology at its autonomous research institutes — the National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune, and the National Institute of Animal Biotechnology (NIAB), Hyderabad.

Both cities are vaccine manufacturing hubs. While Covishield-manufacturer Serum Institute of India is headquartered in Pune, Bharat Biotech, which makes Covaxin, is based out of Hyderabad.

The country currently has only one Central Drugs Laboratory, at Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh.

The new labs, set up with funding support from the PM-CARES fund, will carry out batch testing and quality control of vaccines, said a statement issued by the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The facilities are expected to test approximately 60 batches of vaccines per month. “The facilities are geared up to test existing Covid-19 vaccines and other newer Covid-19 vaccines as per demand of the nation. 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,’’ said the statement.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department of Biotechnology has been involved in vaccine development, diagnostics and testing, bio-banking and genomic surveillance, in addition to fundamental research, the statement said.

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