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The health ministry has finalised arrangements with Hyderabad-based vaccine manufacturer Biological-E to book 30 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses, set to be manufactured and stockpiled from August to December this year.

As per a health ministry statement on Thursday, an advance payment of Rs 1,500 crore will be made to Biological-E from the Centre.

This is the second made-in-India vaccine after Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN.

Biological-E’s COVID-19 vaccine, an RBD protein sub-unit vaccine, is currently undergoing Phase-3 clinical trials.
The proposal of M/s Biological-E was examined and recommended for approval after due diligence by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC), the ministry said.

It added that Biological-E’s COVID Vaccine candidate has been supported by the Government of India from preclinical stage to Phase-3 studies and the Department of Biotechnology has not only provided financial assistance in terms of grant-in-aid of over Rs 100 crore but has also partnered with the manufacturer to conduct all animal challenge and assay studies through its Research Institute Translational Health Science Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad.
“This has been undertaken as part of Government of India’s ‘Mission COVID Suraksha – the Indian COVID-19 Vaccine Development Mission’ which was launched to reinforce and accelerate COVID-19 vaccine development efforts as part of the third stimulus package, Atmanirbhar 3.0,” the statement added.

Currently, three vaccines are available in the country – Pune-based Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN, and the Russian Sputnik V.

As per the union health ministry, as many as 22,10,43,693 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the country so far. (ANI)