ANS: Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the vaccine development and manufacturing process for the potential COVID-19 vaccine in three cities on Saturday. PM visited Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad, and Serum Institute of India in Pune.

The Prime Minister 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, said the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in a statement.

In his last stop of the single-day tour, the PM visited Serum Institute in Pune this evening. His visit to Maharashtra based institute was considered significant as the institute which has partnered with global pharma giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University for a COVID-19 vaccine, is in the advance trial of COVID-19 vaccine development, it reported.

At the SII vaccine plant, the managing team and core scientist group briefed the PM about the overall phases, research testing, and till day conclusions of the Covid vaccine. PM Modi also took a detail review the status of the vaccine, including its launch, production and distribution mechanisms during the visit.

According to the media reports, PM arrived at the Serum Institute in Pune at around 4.40 pm today. During the 50-minute visit, Modi inspected the vaccine production process and later had a discussion with the scientists and officials.

After concluding the hour-long program, PM tweeted that he had a good interaction with the team at Serum Institute. He said that they shared details about the progress so far and how they plan to further ramp up Vaccine manufacturing. After this visit, Modi left for Delhi.

Earlier, Modi visited the Zydus Cadila Pharmaceutical’s vaccine development facility at Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad this morning and held meetings with Zydus Cadila Pharmaceutical’s scientists. He also got the first-hand information on ZyCoV-D, a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

During the half an hour meeting, PM discussed the process of vaccine development, its trials and the distribution plan of the final product.

Zydus Cadila Pharmaceutical’s vaccine development facility at Zydus Biotech Park is developing ZyCoV-D, a Covid-19 vaccine. ZyCoV-D, a potential vaccine that will enter in the third phase of clinical trials in December is a big step for the Atmanirbhar Bharat.

The Chairman of Zydus Cadila, Pankaj Patel said that the Prime Minister’s visit inspires the scientists and staff of the company.

Company’s MD Sharvil Patel said that PM has also discussed the treatment of COVID-19 along with the development process of vaccines.

He said that the PM also offered the Government’s help in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.

After his visit to the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, in a tweet, Modi said that he had complimented the team behind this effort for their work. He said, the Government of India is actively working with them to support them in this journey.

Later Modi rushed to Hyderabad where he was briefed about the indigenous COVID-19 vaccine at the Bharat Biotech facility. He congratulated the scientists’ team for their progress in the trials so far.

In a message, the PM said the Bharat Biotech team is closely working with ICMR to facilitate speedy progress.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited the Bharat Biotech International Limited, which has undertaken the development and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccine, called Covaxin in collaboration with the ICMR.

He has been briefed about the progress made so far relating to vaccine manufacturing and various processes involved in it. The Prime Minister interacted with senior scientists and executives of the BBIL including its founder and chairman Dr Krishna Ella during his hour-long visit to the laboratory.

The BBIL later in a statement said the Prime Minister’s visit serves as a great inspiration to their team and further reinforces their commitment towards scientific discovery, solving public health issues and the nation’s fight against COVID -19.

Currently, the phase-III clinical trials of the Covaxin are underway by involving over 25 thousand volunteers in 22 states across the country.

Notably, the Phase-1 clinical trial of Zydus Cadilla’s vaccine candidate ZyCoV-D is over and the pharma company has commenced Phase-2 clinical trials from August.

Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is undergoing Phase-3 trials. Covishield vaccine is currently in the final stage of clinical human trials.

The Serum Institute of India has partnered with UK’s Oxford University and British-Swedish Pharmaceutical Giant AstraZeneca  in the manufacture and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate COVISHIELD in India.

Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan today said that Prime Minister Narendra is leading the efforts being made in the country like a supreme commander in the fight against COVID-19.

In a tweet, Dr Vardhan said that today the Prime Minister’s visit to Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune to review the vaccine’s development and manufacturing process reflects how serious he is about the epidemic.

After the PM’s trip concluded, in a press conference, Adar Poonawalla, CEO and owner, SII said the firm was ready to apply for an emergency licence in the next 2 weeks.

Poonawalla said, he doesn’t see any need for additional trials in India other than a trial for the under 18 age group, after four months following the licensure. “That’s the same thing for all vaccine candidates be it US or Europe,” he added.

 

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