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Fact Check: Does Covaxin Final Product Have Newborn Calf Serum? Here’s The Truth

The Union Health Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that facts have been 'twisted and misrepresented' in some social media posts

Fact Check: Does Covaxin Final Product Have Newborn Calf Serum? Here’s The Truth
The health ministry has said that newborn calf serum is used only for the preparation and growth of vero cells. | Representational Image
Fact Check: Does Covaxin Final Product Have Newborn Calf Serum? Here’s The Truth
outlookindia.com
2021-06-16T14:04:47+05:30

The Union Health Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that facts have been "twisted and misrepresented" in some social media posts which suggested indigenously developed Covaxin contains newborn calf serum.

The ministry has said that newborn calf serum is used only for the preparation and growth of vero cells. Serum from bovine and other animal are standard enrichment ingredient used globally for vero cell growth.

Vero cells are used to establish cell lives which help in the production of vaccines. This technique has been used for decades in developing vaccines against polio, rabies, and influenza.

After growth, the vero cells are washed in water and with chemicals, also technically known as buffer, multiple times to make them free from newborn calf serum. The vero cells are then infected with coronavirus for viral growth, the health ministry said.

The vero cells are completely destroyed in the process of viral growth. Thereafter, the grown virus is also killed (inactivated) and purified, it said.

The killed or inactivated virus is then used to make the final vaccine. No calf serum is used in the formulation of the final vaccine, according to the statement.

"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."

(With PTI inputs)

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