In news- The Government recently clarified that Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin does not contain newborn calf serum and that the calf serum is not an ingredient of the final vaccine product.
About animal serum usage in vaccines-
- The newborn calf serum is used for preparation and growth of vero cells which are used in production of vaccines.
- The blood is collected from the calf within three to ten days of its birth.
- This is very commonly used to make vaccines as the cattle blood is easier to source than other animals, and hence this is standard practice.
- These vero cells are then washed with water, chemicals to make them free of the newborn calf serum.
- The cells are then infected with disease-causing virus, bacteria or other pathogens in the laboratory, but do not themselves become an ingredient of the vaccine.
- The virus thereafter is killed or inactivated.
- The killed virus is then used to make the final vaccine.
- This technique has been used for decades in Polio, Rabies, and Influenza vaccines.
- The use of horse serum as an antibody supplement in diphtheria vaccine is more than 100 years old.