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Animal serum in making vaccines

Date: 19 June 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous


The government has refuted claims made by various sections of the society that new born calf serum was used in manufacturing of Covaxin.



Many political party leaders had cited a document to allege presence of the calf serum in the life saving drug manufactured by Bharat Biotech.



  • The government says that serum is extracted from calf and also other animals for growing disease-causing bacteria, virus and other pathogens.

  • They however clarified that the serum was not an ingredient used in the vaccine shot.  It does not find a place in the process.


Need for serum

  • Vaccine shots are developed by using cultured disease-causing virus and later used to trigger immune response in human body.

  • To grow this virus, they need a culture medium that can keep them alive until the necessity arises for their use. This culture contains the animal serum.

  • The animal serum simulates human body by providing virus with nutrients to grow such as sugars and salt molecules. This serum is extracted from bodies of horse, goats, cows etc.


Need for calf serum

  • Cow components are used as they have the correct combination of elements required for the virus to sustain in the culture.

  • There are artificial serums developed but the naturally obtained serums from cows and calves have proved to be an effective way of microbial culture.

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