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How vaccine makers are geared up for Covid mutants

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on February 22, 2021

Reports of Covid-19 virus mutating have triggered apprehensions, with people beginning to worry over whether the new vaccines can offer protection from the mutants.

Both the government and vaccine makers have said that they are geared up for the challenge.

‘Not a concern’

Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech, said they can get a product ready within 15 days when a new variant of the virus poses a threat.

Bharat Biotech, whose Covaxin is being rolled out nationally, is in touch with national institutes such as Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for mutant updates.

“I’m not worried about it. It is not a big concern. I can make a product in 15 days, the fastest one can make,” he said.

‘Mutation is common’

He said it was common for viruses like Covid-19 to mutate very fast to survive and attack newer set of victims.

Mahima Datla, Managing Director of Biological E (which is also in the Covid-19 vaccine race), echoed Ella’s views. Stating that there was no need for concern, she said it was the nature of the beast (to undergo mutation).

Efficacy report

She said it was possible to quickly deploy a suitable product to address the newer challenges.

Krishna Ella said the company was going to publish efficacy report of the vaccine in two weeks.

While assuring that the firm would live up to the expectations for national and international needs, he said the firm could produce 40 million doses a month.

Repository of samples

Nivedita Gupta, a senior scientist with the ICMR, said the government was collecting samples from the hotspot areas in order to keep a watch on the mutations.

“We are building a rich repository of samples so that we can ensure efficacy of vaccines,” she said.

The meeting discussed the need for democratisation of the vaccine. It wanted the stakeholders to ensure equitable delivery and distribution of vaccines to all regions.

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Published on February 22, 2021
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