Government readies two more labs in Pune and Hyderabad for Covid vaccine testing

The Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, continues to support scaling up the vaccine development and manufacturing ecosystem

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In the effort to facilitate expedited COVID-19 testing and pre-release certification of the vaccines, the Union government has set up two new vaccine testing facilities as Central Drug laboratories at DBT- NCCS, Pune and DBT-NIAB, Hyderabad, the Union Science and Technology Ministry said.

Currently, India has a Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) at Kasauli, which is the National Control Laboratory for testing and pre-release certification of Immunobiologicals (vaccines and antisera) meant for human use in India.

The ministry stated in a release that the department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, has set up two vaccine testing facilities in its Autonomous Research Institutes National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune, and the National Institute of Animal Biotechnology,(NIAB) Hyderabad as Central Drug Laboratory (CDL), for batch testing and quality control of vaccines.

Accordingly, with funding support provided by the PM-CARES Funds trust, two new vaccine testing facilities have been set up as Central Drug laboratories at DBT- NCCS, and DBT-NIAB, the ministry stated.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Biotechnology has been in the forefront contributing to various COVID-19 related activities, including Vaccine Development, Diagnostics and testing, bio-banking and genomic surveillance, in addition to fundamental research and also building a strong ecosystem for translational research DBT-NCCS and DBT-NIAB  have been the pillars for  many aspects of infectious disease related work in India and have  contributed to  advancement of  cutting-edge research output  in frontier areas of Biotechnology relevant to human health and disease.

The release further stated that the facility at NCCS, Pune, has now been notified as Central Drugs Laboratory for testing and lot release of COVID-19 vaccines vide Gazette notification issued by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on June 28, 2021. The facility at NIAB, Hyderabad is likely to receive necessary notification shortly. Both the institutions have set up the state-of-the-art modern facilities for this purpose. The facilities are expected to test approx 60 batches of vaccines per month.

The facilities are geared up to test existing COVID-19 vaccines and other newer COVID-19 vaccines as per demand of the Nation. This will not only expedite the Vaccine manufacture and supply but also be logistically convenient considering that both Pune and Hyderabad are the two Vaccine manufacturing hubs, the ministry added.

First Published:July 5, 2021, noon

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