PM reviews vaccine at 3 facilities

PM reviews vaccine at 3 facilities
PM Modi at Serum Institute of India, during his visit to review vaccine development work, in Pune, Saturday. (PIB)
AHMEDABAD/HYDERABAD/PUNE, NOV 28 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 11/28/2020 11:26:18 AM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday visited Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune to review the development and manufacturing process of coronavirus vaccines at facilities in these cities.

He visited the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad and Serum Institute of India in Pune. “The scientists expressed joy that the Prime Minister met them face to face in order to boost their morale and help accelerate their efforts at this critical juncture in the vaccine development journey,” an official statement said.

“The Prime Minister expressed pride in the fact that India’s indigenous vaccine development has progressed at such a rapid pace so far. He spoke on how India is following sound principles of science in the entire journey of vaccine development, while also asking for suggestions to make the vaccine distribution process better,” it said.

The statement said Modi stressed that India considers vaccines as not only vital to good health but also as a global good, and it is Indias duty to assist other countries, including the nations in our neighbourhood, in the collective fight against the virus.

“He (Modi) asked the scientists to express their free and frank opinion on how the country could further improve its regulatory process. The scientists also presented an overview of how they are also developing various new and repurposed drugs to better fight COVID-19,” it said.

Modi began by visiting pharma major Zydus Cadila’s manufacturing facility near Ahmedabad. Wearing a PPE kit, he reviewed the vaccine development process at the company’s research centre, located over 20 km from Ahmedabad.

Modi was extensively briefed about the vaccine work at the plant by the company officials. He was briefed about the vaccine production procedure. He interacted with scientists and vaccine developers, an official said.

Delivery on schedule: The erroneous trial results of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine candidate will not impact the manufacturing or delivery schedule of the ‘Covieshield’, the Indian version of the experimental vaccine, Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of Pune-based Serum Institute of India which is manufacturing the vaccine in India reiterated on Saturday. Poonawalla’s remarks came days after AstraZeneca and Oxford University acknowledged a manufacturing error that has raised questions about preliminary results of their experimental COVID-19 vaccine. Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also visited the vaccine major’s Pune facility.

Poonawala also saidthat the SII is working towards meeting the need for 30 to 40 crore (300 to 400 million) doses of vaccine that the Ministry of Health Affairs may require by July.

“As of now, we don’t have anything in writing with the government of India on how many doses they will purchase but the indication is that it would be 300-400 million doses by July 2021,” he told reporters. The SII, he informed, is in the process of applying for an emergency usage license in the next two weeks.

Poonawalla also said he discussed an implementation plan with Modi after the Covieshield is granted an emergency usage authorisation.

“This,” however, he said, “will happen after the company submits its efficacy trials data with the government and provided the trials in the UK go well.”

“It will be a decision of the health ministry,” he added.


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