On Wednesday, April 24th, the Indian Secretary of Health Apurva Chandra visited Bilthoven Biologicals. During his visit he talked to CEO Mr. Jurgen Kwik and the CEO of Poonawalla Science Park (PSP) in Bilthoven, Mr. Jef De Clercq. The focus of this meeting was on the EU partnership for pandemic preparedness and vaccine production cooperation. 

This visit is important because Bilthoven Biologicals plays a crucial role in the production of polio vaccines and these collaborations have impact worldwide. India’s Poonawalla Group, owner of Bilthoven Biologicals and Serum Institute of India Ltd., (SII) helped strengthen vaccine production capacity and make BBio a valuable manufacturing base in Europe. 

Oral Polio Vaccine 

Bilthoven Biologicals and India’s Bharat Biotech recently announced a collaboration for improved production of oral polio vaccines (OPV). BBio supplies the OPV produced in the Netherlands to Bharat Biotech. This partnership will help ensure the continued supply of OPV, which is essential to maintaining the polio-free status of India and other countries. India was declared polio-free in March 2014. To maintain this polio-free status, the oral polio vaccine is given to children as part of the polio rounds across the country.  

Pandemic Preparedness 

Director Corporate Development Jorrit van Hoorn and COO at BBio, Ad van den Biggelaar showed Mr. Chandra around the facility that is currently being converted for the Pandemic Preparedness contract. This means that BBio is ready to make production capacity available for the production of viral vector vaccines in the event of a pandemic. Serum Institute of India provided crucial support in this regard. At the time of the corona crisis, SII produced Covishield, the viral vector vaccine against Covid. The basis of this technology is now being implemented in Bilthoven. 

Crucial collaborations 

As Secretary of Health in India, Apurva Chandra is actively involved in international collaborations and initiatives to strengthen vaccine production and ensure public health in India and abroad. The collaborations in this area are crucial for ensuring the well-being of citizens and maintaining polio-free statuses in various countries.