Mission COVID Suraksha launched

The Government of India recently launched Mission COVID Suraksha to accelerate development of vaccine in the country. It will ensure that the vaccines being developed are brought closer to the market. The mission was introduced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on November 12, 2020 as a part of 12 announcements made under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan 3.0.

The Finance Minister had allocated Rs 2.65 lakh crores under the fourth economic package. Of this, Rs 900 crores has been allocated to Department of Biotechnology to accelerate development of COVID-19 vaccine. This fund is to be used to implement Phase I of Mission COVID Suraksha which is to run for 12 months. The funds allocated are to be used for the development of vaccines and licensure of vaccines that are in clinical stage or ready to enter clinical stage. The Department is currently supporting development of ten vaccines.

What is Mission COVID Suraksha?

The mission will envisage COVID-19 vaccine development from pre-clinical to manufacturing and regulatory facilitation. The other important roles of the mission are as follows

  • To establish clinical trial sites
  • To strengthen existing immunoassay laboratories
  • To strengthen suitable facilities for animal studies
  • To establish clinical sites
  • To support data management systems, trainings, regulatory submissions, accreditations, external quality management and support development of common harmonized protocol.
  • The mission will support cell line development. Cell Line is a cell culture developed from a single cell.
  • It will also support manufacturing of good manufacturing practice batches for animal toxicology studies.

What are the supports offered to Mission COVID Suraksha?

The mission will be supported by India Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (Ind-CEPI) and National Bio Pharma Mission

What is Ind-CEPI?

The mission was launched in March 2019 at a cost of Rs 312 crores. The main aim of the programme is to strengthen the development of vaccines for epidemics in India.

 Objectives

The mission will support development of at least two to three vaccines until phase 2 of their testing. It will strengthen the infrastructure support of vaccine development through industry-academia interface. The mission will work to strengthen internal inter-ministerial co-ordination to speed up the vaccine development. It will strengthen surveillance, development framework and logistics for the use of new vaccines.

What is CEPI?

CEPI is Coalition for Epidemic preparedness Innovations. It is a foundation that was established in 2017 by World Economic forum, India, Norway, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It was founded at Davos, Switzerland. The headquarters of CEPI is located in Oslo, Norway. CEPI finances independent research projects developing vaccines by taking donations from public, private and philanthropic organisations.

How has CEPI helped the programme?

CEPI has so far conducted prioritisation exercises for Nipah virus, Lassa, Chikungunya, MERS and RFV in India.

What is National Bio Pharma Mission?

The National Biopharma Mission is being implemented by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC). It is implemented through industry-academia collaboration. The mission accelerates biopharmaceutical development in the country. The mission was launched in 2017 at a cost of 1500 crore rupees. 50% of the mission is funded by World bank.

What is I3 programme under the mission?

The Innovate in India, I3 programme was launched under the mission. It enables an ecosystem to promote indigenous manufacturing in bio Pharma sector.

What are the four verticals under the mission?

The four verticals under the mission are development of product leads for vaccine, upgradation of shared infrastructure facilities, development of human capital and developing technology transfer.

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