The viral message claiming Covaxin contains newborn calf serum is misleading.

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A message is viral claiming Covaxin contains newborn calf serum. Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin was said to contain Newborn Calf Serum in a tweet that recently went viral on the internet. An image of an RTI response accompanied the tweet.

Congress’s Gaurav Pandhi tweeted the claim with an image of an alleged RTIreply which startedthis furore but deleted later –

https://twitter.com/GauravPandhi/status/1404837680874070023

Following is the tweet which has been deleted

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He tweeted “In an RTI response, the Modi Govt has admitted that COVAXIN consists Newborn Calf Serum …..which is a portion of clotted blood obtained from less than 20 days young cow-calves, after slaughtering them. THIS IS HEINOUS! This information should have been made public before.”

The Congress representative posted Bharat Biotech’s response to the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), which said that newborn calf serum is used in the vaccine manufacturing process, citing an RTI answer to applicant Vikas Patni.

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Truth

All such claims of Covaxin containing Newborn Calf Serum are misleading.

There is no newborn calf serum in the Covaxin, and the calf serum is not a component of the final vaccine product.

The new born calf serum is utilised in the revival process of Vero Cells, which is used in the creation of the Corona Virus during the manufacturing of Covaxin, according to the text highlighted in remarks point 8 of the RTI image. Multiple individuals on Twitter misunderstood this argument and shared it.

 

 

On Wednesday, the Indian government issued a statement clarifying claims that Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin was produced with newborn calves’ serum. In an official statement, the Ministry of Health stated that facts had been “twisted and misrepresented.”

“These vero cells, after the growth, are washed with water, with chemicals (also technically known as buffer), many times to make it free from the newborn calf serum. Thereafter, these vero cells are infected with corona virus for viral growth. The vero cells are completely destroyed in the process of viral growth. Thereafter this grown virus is also killed (inactivated) and purified. This killed virus is then used to make the final vaccine, and in the final vaccine formulation no calf serum is used,” the satatement said.

“Hence, the final vaccine (COVAXIN) does not contain newborn calf serum at all and the calf serum is not an ingredient of the final vaccine product,” the government added.

“These vero cells, after the growth, are washed with water, with chemicals (also technically known as buffer), many times to make it free from the newborn calf serum. Thereafter, these vero cells are infected with corona virus for viral growth. The vero cells are completely destroyed in the process of viral growth. Thereafter this grown virus is also killed (inactivated) and purified. This killed virus is then used to make the final vaccine, and in the final vaccine formulation no calf serum is used,” the satatement said.

“Hence, the final vaccine (COVAXIN) does not contain newborn calf serum at all and the calf serum is not an ingredient of the final vaccine product,” the government added.

During the course of our investigation, we found an article on Bharat Biotech uses ‘calf serum’ to make Covaxin? Experts call it ‘standard practice’ which stated that “The vaccine will not have the presence of any calf sera. In other words, it is not used to make vaccines, but as an agent to grow the cell. After that, cell is purified and a virus is introduced into that cell. This is where the virus multiplies, it is harvested and killed. A similar process happens in polio vaccine manufacturing too. It is used by all viral vaccine manufacturers in India”

More sources

FirstPost

Hindustan TImes

 

Financial Express

Business Line


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Suramya Sunilraj

Suramya Sunilraj is a student at the Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune.