In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and considering the enhanced production of COVID Vaccines, the Government proactively took the decision of setting up additional laboratories, to facilitate expedited testing / pre-release certification of the vaccines.
Currently, the nation 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.
Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India has set up two Vaccine testing facilities in its Autonomous Research Institutes National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune, and 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.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Biotechnology has been at 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 the advancement of cutting-edge research output in frontier areas of Biotechnology relevant to human health and disease.
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 the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on 28th June 2021. The facility at NIAB, Hyderabad is likely to receive necessary notification shortly.
With generous support from PM CARES Fund trust in a very short span of time, both the institutions through relentless efforts have set up 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 the 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.