New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday (June 16) refuted social media reports claiming that Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin contains the newborn calf serum.
In a statement, the Union Health Ministry strongly denied such reports and said facts have been “twisted and misrepresented”.
“Newborn Calf Serum is used only for preparation/ growth of vero cells. Different kinds of bovine and other animal serum are standard enrichment ingredient used globally for vero cell growth, the statement read.
It added, “Vero cells are used to establish cell lives which help in production of vaccines. This technique has been used for decades in Polio, Rabies, and Influenza vaccines.”
Explaining the process further, the Health Ministry said, “These vero cells, after the growth, are washed with water, with chemicals (also technically known as buffer), many times to make it free from the newborn calf serum. Thereafter, these vero cells are infected with corona virus for viral growth.”
The Union Health Ministry informed that in the final vaccine formulation, there is no calf serum. “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. 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 statement read.
Covaxin is an indigenous COVID-19 vaccine developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.
(With agency inputs)