Calf serum not used in SARS CoV2: Bharat Biotech
New Delhi, June 16: Vaccine maker Bharat Biotech on Wednesday issued a clarification on reports claiming that serum from newborn calves was being used in Covaxin.
In an official statement, Bharat Biotech said, "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. 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," it added.
The controversy began a day earlier, when an RTI report revealed that new calf serum has been used in revival of vero cells which is used for the production of Covaxin.
The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday also issued a clarification, stating that while the serum is used only for the manufacturing of vaccines, the final vaccine does not contain newborn calf serum at all.
Facts have been "twisted and misrepresented" in some social media posts which suggested that indigenously developed Covaxin contains newborn calf serum, the Union Health Ministry said.
Newborn calf serum is used only for the preparation and growth of vero cells. Serum from bovine and other animal are standard enrichment ingredient used globally for vero cell growth, it said.
Vero cells are used to establish cell lives which help in the production of vaccines. This technique has been used for decades in developing vaccines against polio, rabies, and influenza.