Claim Of Newborn Calf Serum In Covaxin Is False, BJP Accuses Congress Of Spreading Misinformation

A post is viral on social media claiming Covaxin contains calf serum. Congress party member Gaurav Pandhi also share this claim on Twitter. However, Bharat Biotech and Ministry of Heath & Welfare rejected this claim.

Delhi   |   17 Jun 2021 11:28 AM GMT
Writer : Jakir Hassan | Editor : Bharat Nayak | Creatives : Jakir Hassan
Claim Of Newborn Calf Serum In Covaxin Is False, BJP Accuses Congress Of Spreading Misinformation

Image Credit: Twitter

A post on social media about the use of serum of a newborn calf in Covaxin is going viral. It is being claimed that "In an RTI response, govt has admitted that Covaxin by Bharat Biotech consists serum obtained from 20 days or less Newborn Calves which is a portion of clotted blood". The claim is being shared with an RTI response.



This viral post took a political turn when Gaurav Pandhi, a member of the Congress party, tweeted about this issue and said, "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". However, after heavy backlash on social media, Gaurav Pandhi deleted his tweet. You can see the screenshot of his tweet below.

Screenshot of tweet shared by Gaurav Pandhi on 15 June, 2021

Claim:

The Covaxin vaccine contains newborn calf serum.

Fact Check:

The claim is fake. Newborn calf serum is not used to make the final vaccine. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has refuted the claim of the use of newborn calf serum in the vaccine.

In response to this claim, Bharat Biotech issued a statement on June 16, in which it said, "Newborn calf serum is used in the manufacturing of viral vaccines. It is used for the growth of cells but neither used in the growth of the SARS CoV2 virus nor in the final formulation. Covaxin is highly purified to contain only the inactivated virus components by removing all other impurities."

The Union Health Ministry also issued a clarification on Wednesday, stating that while the serum is used only to manufacture vaccines, the final vaccine does not contain newborn calf serum. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare further added that facts have been "twisted and misrepresented" in social media posts.

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Family and Welfare, also tweeted on this issue.

While responding to the claim of calf getting killed to obtain blood serum for Covaxin, Dr Sumaiya sheikh, an Australian Neuroscientist, tweeted, "Animals are not killed to derive blood serum for covaxin. Either the blood is taken from alive calf or (usually the case) imported from slaughter houses from outside of India. Moreover, no amount of calf/cow is actually in the vaccine, it is only needed to produce it".

Meanwhile, Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) accused the Congress party of trying to derail the COVID-19 vaccination drive by fueling misinformation about Covaxin that it contains newborn calf serum. BJP official Twitter handle also tweeted about this.

Facts have been distorted

Newborn calf serum is used only for the preparation or growth of Vero cells. A variety of bovine or other animal serums are used globally for the development of Vero cells. These Vero cells help in the production of any vaccines.

Vero cells are infected with a virus

After the growth of Vero cells, it is washed with water and chemicals. This technique is called buffer. Vero cells are then infected with the coronavirus. Vero cells are completely destroyed after viral growth. After the Vero cells are destroyed, the virus also becomes inactivated or dies and becomes purified. This inactivated or dead virus is used to make the final vaccine. No newborn calf serum is used in the final vaccine.

Vaccines for polio, rabies or influenza are also made in this way. Vero cells are used in the production of vaccines. The same technology has been used for decades in vaccines for polio, rabies and influenza.

Conclusion:

It is clear from the statement of Bharat Biotech and the Ministry of Health and Welfare that the calf serum is used only for the manufacturing of vaccines; the final vaccine does not contain newborn calf serum at all. Also, no calves are killed to derive blood serum for Covaxin. Hence, the claim is false.

If you have any news that you believe needs to be fact-checked, please email us at factcheck@thelogicalindian.com or WhatsApp at 6364000343.

Also Read: Fact Check: Mob Lynching Case In Assam Shared With False Communal Spin On Social Media

Claim Review :  Covaxin contains calf serum
Claimed By :  Social Media Post
Fact Check :  False
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Contributors

Jakir Hassan

Jakir Hassan

Digital Journalist

A journalist at heart loves the in-depth work of reporting, writing, editing, research, and data analysis. A digital and social media enthusiast.

Bharat Nayak

Bharat Nayak

Founding Editor - Special Project

As the founding editor, Bharat had been heading the newsroom during the formation years of the organization and worked towards editorial policies, conceptualizing and designing campaign strategies and collaborations. He believes that through the use of digital media, one could engage the millennial's in rational conversations about pertinent social issues, provoking them to think and bring a behavioral change accordingly.

Jakir Hassan

Jakir Hassan

Digital Journalist

A journalist at heart loves the in-depth work of reporting, writing, editing, research, and data analysis. A digital and social media enthusiast.

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