No newborn calf serum in Covaxin final product: Health Ministry

Refutal follows some social media posts on composition of COVID-19 vaccination Covaxin

June 16, 2021 02:10 pm | Updated 03:38 pm IST - New Delhi

A health worker displays a vial of Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN vaccine. File

A health worker displays a vial of Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN vaccine. File

The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday refuted some social media posts on the composition of Covaxin , where it has been suggested that it contains newborn calf serum. It said that newborn calf serum was used only for the preparation/ growth of vero cells. The final vaccine did not contain newborn calf serum, it asserted.

Also read: At least 1.41 lakh missed Covaxin second dose within six weeks

A release issued by the Ministry stated that facts have been twisted and misrepresented in these posts.

“Different kinds of bovine and other animal serum are standard enrichment ingredient used globally for vero cell growth. Vero cells are used to help in production of vaccines. This technique has been used for decades in Polio, Rabies, and Influenza vaccines,” said the release.

Also read: Covaxin supplies at ₹150 to Centre non-competitive price, not sustainable: Bharat Biotech

Vero cells, after the growth, were washed with water and chemicals (also technically known as buffer) many times to make them free from newborn calf serum. Thereafter, they were infected with corona virus for viral growth and completely destroyed in the process. Thereafter, the grown virus was also killed (inactivated) and purified. This killed virus was then used to make the final vaccine, and in the final vaccine formulation, no calf serum was used, the Ministry noted.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.