After repeated requests by Telangana Minister for Urban Development, K T Rama Rao, the union government on Saturday, June 3, announced the setting up of a Vaccine Testing Laboratory (VTL) at National Institute of Animal Biotechnology in Hyderabad. The operations at the VTL will likely begin in the next one month, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, G Kishan Reddy said. “Considering the fact that the city of Hyderabad is home to many big pharma companies, Covid-19 vaccine production companies and the concerned R&D institutions, the setting up of a new Vaccine Testing Laboratory at Hyderabad is a big step forward towards the comprehensive development of this sector which will also boost the production of Covid-19 vaccines,” Kishan Reddy said in a statement.
The laboratory will be established using funds from the PM CARES Fund, for which the Union Minister thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Along with the laboratory in Hyderabad, another VTL will be established at the National Centre for Cell Science in Pune.
The Telangana government had written to the Union government on three occasions, demanding the need to set up a Vaccine Testing and Certification Laboratory in Hyderabad. The most recent request was made on June 20. In a letter to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, KTR had said Hyderabad has emerged as the vaccine capital of the world, and companies were sending every batch of vaccines for testing to the national vaccine testing centre in Kasauli leading to loss of 45 days of valuable time. “I assure that the State government will extend all support for setting up the vaccine centre on a fast track,” KTR had said.
Pointing out the need to increase vaccine supply, KTR said that the Union government should set up a second vaccine testing centre in Hyderabad. Apart from helping increase vaccine production, establishing a testing centre will cut down the time for approvals, he said. Besides writing a letter, KTR had also made a request through Twitter for the same.