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Calf Serum not present in final Covaxin product, says Health Ministry

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 16, 2021

The Ministry said new-born calf serum is used only for preparation or growth of vero cells and it is a standard practice globally

The Health Ministry clarified Wednesday that Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin vaccine does not contain a new-born calf serum and therefore it is not an ingredient of the final product vaccine at all. The clarification comes amid reports suggesting that Covaxin contains a new-born calf serum.

The Ministry said the new-born calf serum is used only for preparation or growth of vero cells and it is a standard practice globally to use animal serum for vero cell growth. “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,” it added.

Also read: Covaxin supply at ₹150/dose to Centre not sustainable: Bharat Bio

These vero cells, after the growth, are washed with water, and with chemicals, many times to make it free from the newborn calf serum. Thereafter, these vero cells are infected with coronavirus for viral growth, as per the ministry.

“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,” it further added.

Published on June 16, 2021

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