Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, 28 November, visited Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune to review COVID-19 vaccine development work.
PM Modi stressed that India considers vaccines as not only vital to good health but also as a global good, and it is India’s duty to assist other countries, including the nations in our neighbourhood, in the collective fight against the virus, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said after his visit to the three facilities.
PM Modi began by visiting pharma major Zydus Cadila’s manufacturing facility near Ahmedabad. Later, he visited Bharat Biotech facility where work is underway on Covaxin. In the final leg of his trip, he visited the Serum Institute of India in Pune that is producing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19.
After visiting the final vaccine development facility, PM Modi said that he “had a good interaction with the team at Serum Institute of India.”
Centre Suggested it Wants 300 to 400 Million Doses by July: Serum Institute
After PM Modi’s visit, Serum Institute's Adar Poonawalla said that the central government has suggested it wants 300 to 400 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine by July. He also said that SII is going to apply for emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine in two weeks.
"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 said.
Serum Institute of India in Pune is the Indian partner that is producing the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that’s expected to be ready by around April 2021.
PM Modi's Visit Encouraged Us to Do More: Zydus Cadila Chairperson
The chairperson of Zydus Cadila Pankaj K Patel said that PM Modi's visit to the facility has encouraged the staff to do more and faster in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine development.
“Today Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Zydus Biotech Park. This visit has encouraged us in doing more and doing fast. His knowledge and wisdom about the problem and his guidance have been valuable for our scientific staff and for all of us,” Patel said in a video message.
PM Modi took to Twitter to talk about his visit to Zydus Biotech and said, “Visited the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad to know more about the indigenous DNA based vaccine being developed by Zydus Cadila. I compliment the team behind this effort for their work. Government of India is actively working with them to support them in this journey.”
Patel had previously said the company is aiming to complete the vaccine trial by March 2021 and could produce up to 100 million doses a year. Zydus Cadila is developing its COVID-19 vaccine at Vaccine Technology Centre, located at its Changodar park.
PM Modi Congratulated Scientists at Bharat Biotech
Bharat Biotech is making India's first indigenous vaccine for coronavirus in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research.
Covaxin, being developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology, is undergoing phase-3 trials.
Ahead of the visit, PM Modi’s office had on Friday tweeted: “As India enters a decisive phase of the fight against COVID-19, PM @narendramodi’s visit to these facilities & discussions with the scientists will help him get a first hand perspective of the preparations, challenges & roadmap in India’s endeavour to vaccinate its citizens.”
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