“Newborn calf serum is used in the manufacturing of viral vaccines. It is used for the growth of cells, but neither used in growth of SARS-CoV-2 virus nor the final formulation. Covaxin is highly purified to contain only the inactivated virus components by removing all other impurities,” Bharat Biotech said in a statement.
“Bovine serum is widely used in the manufacture of vaccines globally for several decades. The usage of newborn calf serum was transparently documented in various publications since the last nine months,” the company added.
Bharat Biotech’s clarification came after Congress party’s national coordinator for digital communications and social media, Gaurav Pandhi, tweeted a copy of the RTI response given by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) to an RTI applicant, one Vikas Patni, regarding the contents of Covaxin and accused the Modi government of betraying the “faith and belief” of people.
Pandhi had also tweeted a study on the method for differentiating fetal bovine serum from newborn calf serum which mentions that the newborn calf serum is the liquid fraction of clotted blood derived from healthy, slaughtered bovine calves that are less than 20 days old. The Centre, meanwhile, slammed the social media posts stating that “facts have been twisted and misrepresented” and issued a detailed note explaining the usage of newborn calf serum in vaccine making.