Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech announced the successful shipment of its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin to 11 cities in India on 13 January. It also said that it has donated 16.5 lakh doses to the Central government.

After receiving the government purchase order for 55 lakh doses, Bharat Biotech shipped the first batch of vaccines (each vial containing 20 doses) to Ganavaram, Guwahati, Patna, Delhi, Kurukshetra, Bangalore, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Chennai, and Lucknow. While some shipments have arrived in the respective cities, others will be delivered later this evening.

The company also expressed its deepest gratitude to the nation, the clinical trial volunteers, and its partners for making this a successful public-private partnership for the development of India's first COVID-19 vaccine.

Bharat Biotech's Covaxin is India first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV). This indigenous, inactivated vaccine is developed and manufactured in Bharat Biotech's BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) biocontainment facility, a one-of-its-kind in the world.

The initial human trial evaluation of Covaxin has resulted in several unique product characteristics, including long-term persistence of immune responses to multiple viral proteins, as opposed to only the spike protein, and has demonstrated broad spectrum neutralizing capability with heterologous SARS-CoV-2 strains, thus potentially reducing or eliminating escape mutants.

Covaxin is a highly purified and inactivated two-dose SARS-CoV-2 vaccine manufactured in a Vero cell manufacturing platform with an excellent safety track record of more than 300 million doses. The vaccine has also shown it can generate memory T cell responses for its multiple epitopes, indicating longevity and rapid antibody response to future infections. Its most critical characteristic is its demonstrated safety profile which is significantly lower than several other vaccines with published data.

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