Newsfeed

‘Calf serum not ingredient of final Covaxin product’: Centre trashes Congress’ charges

The Centre on Wednesday said that Covaxin — the made-in-India COVID-19 vaccine — does not contain newborn calf serum as the serum is not “an ingredient of the final vaccine product”.

“There have been some social media posts regarding composition of the Covaxin vaccine where it has been suggested that Covaxin vaccine contains the newborn calf serum. Facts have been twisted and misrepresented in these posts,” the Union Health Ministry said.

The ministry clarified that the newborn calf serum is used only for preparation and growth of vero cells, adding that this technique has been used for decades in Polio, Rabies, and Influenza vaccines.

“Different kinds of bovine and other animal serum are standard enrichment ingredient used globally for vero cell growth. Vero cells are used to establish cell lives which help in production of vaccines,” it added.

Centre explains Covaxin composition

The ministry further explained that the vero cells, after the growth, are washed with water and chemicals, also technically known as buffer, several times to make it free from the newborn calf serum. “Thereafter, these vero cells are infected with corona virus for viral growth,’ it said.

“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 ministry said.

 

  • Newborn calf serum is used only for preparation and growth of vero cells, said Centre
  • The health ministry said that the vero cells are washed with water and chemicals after the growth
  • The ministry said that technique is used for decades in Polio, Rabies, and Influenza vaccines

New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday said that Covaxin — the made-in-India COVID-19 vaccine — does not contain newborn calf serum as the serum is not “an ingredient of the final vaccine product”.

“There have been some social media posts regarding composition of the Covaxin vaccine where it has been suggested that Covaxin vaccine contains the newborn calf serum. Facts have been twisted and misrepresented in these posts,” the Union Health Ministry said.

The ministry clarified that the newborn calf serum is used only for preparation and growth of vero cells, adding that this technique has been used for decades in Polio, Rabies, and Influenza vaccines.

“Different kinds of bovine and other animal serum are standard enrichment ingredient used globally for vero cell growth. Vero cells are used to establish cell lives which help in production of vaccines,” it added.

Centre explains Covaxin composition

The ministry further explained that the vero cells, after the growth, are washed with water and chemicals, also technically known as buffer, several times to make it free from the newborn calf serum. “Thereafter, these vero cells are infected with corona virus for viral growth,’ it said.

“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 ministry said.

 

 

Bharat Biotech’s clarification

Bharat Biotech, the manufacturer of Covaxin, also said that newborn calf serum is not used in final formulation of the vaccine.

“Newborn calf serum is used in manufacturing of viral vaccines. It’s used for cells’ growth, but neither used in growth of SARS CoV2 virus nor in final formulation,” said the Hyderabad-based vaccine maker.

It also said that Covaxin is “highly purified” to contain only inactivated virus components by removing other impurities.

“Bovine serum is widely used in the manufacture of vaccines globally for several decades. The usage of newborn calf serum was transparently documented in  several publications including Hamster Efficacy Study over the last 9 months,” the firm said.

Congress’ charges

The clarification comes after Congress IT cell leader Gaurav Pandhi shared an RTI reply that suggested that newborn calf serum is used in Covaxin.

“Newborn calf serum is used in the revival process of Vero cells, which is further used for the production of coronavirus during the manufacturing of Covaxin,” Bharat Biotech has said in a reply to the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) as per the RTI response to applicant Vikas Patni.

Citing the RTI reply, Pandhi, who is the national coordinator of Digital Communications and Social Media at Congress, tweeted: “BJP Govt should NOT betray the faith & belief of people, if Covaxin or any other vaccine consists of cow-calf serum, then people have the right to know. Vaccines are the life line today and everyone must get vaccinated (as & when available) keeping faiths & beliefs aside.”

 

Support Ethical Journalism. Support The Dispatch

The Dispatch is a sincere effort in ethical journalism. Truth, Accuracy, Independence, Fairness, Impartiality, Humanity and Accountability are key elements of our editorial policy. But we are still not able to generate great stories, because we don’t have adequate resources. As more and more media falls into corporate and political control, informed citizens across the world are funding independent journalism initiatives. Here is your chance to support your local media startup and help independent journalism survive. Click the link below to make a payment of your choice and be a stakeholder in public spirited journalism


 

The Dispatch is present across a number of social media platforms. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for exciting videos; join us on Facebook, Intagram and Twitter for quick updates and discussions. We are also available on the Telegram. Follow us on Pinterest for thousands of pictures and graphics. We care to respond to text messages on WhatsApp at 8082480136 [No calls accepted]. To contribute an article or pitch a story idea, write to us at [email protected] |Click to know more about The Dispatch, our standards and policies