Netherlands: Health Secy Visits Bilthoven Biologicals, Discusses Collaboration On Production Of Oral Polio Vaccine

New Delhi: Union Health Secretary Apurva Chandra on Wednesday visited the manufacturing unit of global pharmaceutical company Bilthoven Biologicals at Utrecht, Netherlands.

Further, the Union Health Secretary met with CEO Juergen Kwik and CEO of Poonawalla Science Park (PSP) at Bilthoven Jef De Clercq on EU pandemic preparedness partnership and collaboration on production of vaccines, the Ministry of Health and FamilyWelfare said in a Press release.

“She also met the senior management and was briefed on the various manufacturing units of the facility. A detailed presentation was made on their future manufacturing plans. Bilthoven Biologicals BV Co manufactures pharmaceutical products such as vaccines for polio, diphtheria-tetanus-polio, and tetanus along with bacillus calmette-guerin (BCG) ,” the press release added.

The bioengineering and vaccine production firm Bilthoven Biologicals was purchased by Serum India Ltd., in 2012. This has strengthened its capacity of producing vaccines and also provided it with a valuable manufacturing base in Europe.

Recently Serum and Bharat Biotech have announced collaboration for enhanced production of OPV. Bharat Biotech will collaborate with Netherlands-based Bilthoven Biologicals BV, a wholly-owned arm of Serum Institute of India.

According to a press release, an agreement has been signed under which Bharat Biotech will procure drug substances for manufacturing oral polio vaccines to be supplied within India and globally. This will contribute to supply security of oral polio vaccines. With this partnership, the capacity of BBIL to manufacture Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) has increased to 500 million doses every year.

Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) of the Union Health Ministry is one of the key interventions for protection of children from life threatening conditions by providing vaccination, including vaccine against polio. India has been certified free of Polio in March 2014.However, to maintain the polio-free status, polio vaccine is given to children as part of the high quality national and sub-national polio rounds across the country.

A sustained supply of OPV is essential for keeping India polio free. The partnership between BBIL and Serum will contribute to providing a sustained supply of OPV in the country.

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