Union Government on Wednesday came out with a clarification on reports suggesting that newborn calf serum was being used to make Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin.
It stated that there have been some social media posts regarding the composition of COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin where it has been suggested that the Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN contains the newborn calf serum.
The facts have been twisted and misrepresented in these posts, it said.
The Newborn Calf Serum is used only for the preparation and growth of Vero cells, it clarified, adding that different kinds of bovine and other animal serum are standard enrichment ingredient used globally for Vero cell growth.
Vero cells are used to establish cell lives which help in the production of vaccines, it said, adding that this technique has been used for decades in Polio, Rabies, and Influenza vaccines.
These Vero cells, after the growth, are washed with water, with chemicals (also technically known as a buffer), many times to make it free from the newborn calf serum. Thereafter, these Vero cells are infected with coronavirus for viral growth.
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.
Hence, the final vaccine (COVAXIN) does not contain newborn calf serum at all and the calf serum is not an ingredient of the final vaccine product.
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