Pharma Giant Wockhardt to Centre Amid Shortage

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Wockhardt, an Indian pharmaceutical company, told the Centre that it can produce a whopping number of two billion doses a year of most Covid-19 vaccines, beginning with a capacity of 500 million doses by February 2022.

In a formal submission to the Centre earlier this month, Mumbai-based Wockhardt has sought help to identify potential partners in the country whose vaccines it could produce, The Indian Express reported.

The company’s process of ‘accessing’ technology to make some Covid-19 vaccines is already underway. Reportedly, the company has informed the central leadership that it has the manufacturing and research capability to create a diversified portfolio that would allow it to produce and supply mRNA, protein-based and viral vector-based vaccines.

However, the government is examining the company’s offer, as it already has an agreement with the UK government to ‘fill and finish’ Covid-19 vaccines exclusively for the United Kingdom. As of now, the company has been operational from its plant in North Wales, where they have been filling the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine into vials and packaging them for use in the country’s immunisation drives. As per the agreement, its capacity will be used for other Covid-19 vaccines the UK government requires it to fill and finish.

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Reportedly, in a recent presentation at a seminar organised by Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh L Mandaviya had said, “Wockhardt had last week told us it also wants to tie up with any company (for manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines). So, we are also working on that. We will get them tied up with one of the companies.”

This comes amid a constant struggle for India to meet its requirement for vaccines. The problem has pushed companies like Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech to even repurpose their capacities to make other life-saving vaccines. Wockhardt does not plan to manufacture Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin at this time, given the specific requirements of a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL 3) facility and the longer output time.

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