New Delhi: The Central government and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech are willing to invite other companies wanting to produce COVAXIN in a bid to scale up the vaccine production, said NITI Aayog member, Dr. VK Paul, on Thursday. This is likely to help a great deal in addressing vaccine shortage in the country as we fight the second wave of deadly Coronavirus. Dr. Paul then went on to stress that that COVAXIN can only be produced in the Biosafety level 3 (BSL3) labs. Also Read - Bharat Biotech Gets DGCI Nod To Conduct Clinical Trials of Covaxin On Children Above 2 Years

“People say that Covaxin should be given to other companies for manufacturing. I am happy to say that Covaxin manufacturing company (Bharat Biotech) has welcomed this when we discussed it with them. Under this vaccine, a live virus is inactivated and this is done only in BSL3 labs. Not every company has this. We give an open invitation to companies who want to do this. Companies that want to manufacture Covaxin, should do it together. The Centre will assist so that capacity is increased,” Dr. Paul said.

The Centre’s decision to invite other players to produce COVAXIN comes at a time when several state governments and opposition parties have been demanding to increase the production of vaccines by sharing formulas with other capable companies for manufacturing.

Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the Centre should share the vaccine formula of Covaxin and Covishield with other capable pharmaceutical companies to scale up production in the country.

As many as 3,62,727 new COVID-19 cases, 3,52,181 discharges and 4,120 deaths were reported in India on Thursday. The total positive cases in the country so far stand at 2,37,03,665. This includes 1,97,34,823 recoveries and 2,58,317 reported deaths. There are currently 37,10,525 active cases in the country.

A total of 17,72,14,256 doses of the COVID vaccine have been administered so far.