Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla 'amazed' at PM Narendra Modi's knowledge about …

Pune: The Serum Institute of India’s (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on Saturday (November 28, 2020) expressed that he was ‘amazed’ at PM ’s knowledge about COVID-19 vaccine production.

The comments came following Prime Minister’s visit to the Serum Institute of India in Pune to review the coronavirus vaccine development and manufacturing process.

While addressing a virtual presser, Poonawalla said, “PM is extremely knowledgable now on vaccines and vaccine production. We were amazed at what he already knew. There was very little to explain to him, except for going into detail on different variable vaccines and the challenges that they may face ahead.”

He also said, “Worldwide everybody is now dependent and is looking forward to the vaccines coming out in large volumes and at an affordable price from India as everybody already knows that more than 50 to 60 per cent of all vaccines are made in India.”

The CEO of world’s largest vaccine producer stated, “With the Aatmanirbhar Bharat vision in mind we have built the largest pandemic level facility in Pune in our sister campus at Manjri and that was also showcased to the prime minister.”

Poonawalla informed that the Serum Institute of India is in the process of applying for emergency use authorization of their COVID-19 vaccine ‘COVISHIELD’ in the next two weeks.

He also said, “As of now, we don’t have anything in writing with the govt 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 stated that the coronavirus vaccine will be distributed initially in India and then the SII will look at the COVAX countries which are mainly in Africa. 

PM Modi took to his official Twitter account and said that he had a good interaction with the team at Serum Institute of India. “They shared details about their progress so far on how they plan to further ramp up vaccine manufacturing. Also took a look at their manufacturing facility,” tweeted PM Modi

PM Modi visited Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune to review coronavirus vaccine development work. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said that the day-long visit was aimed at getting a first-hand perspective of the preparations, challenges and roadmap in India’s endeavour to vaccinate its citizens. 

“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,” the PMO said.

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

Earlier on November 11, SII and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the apex body in India for biomedical research, announced completion of enrolment of phase 3 clinical trials for COVISHIELD in India. 

The ICMR and SII said that they have further collaborated for clinical development COVOVAX (Novavax) developed by Novavax, USA and upscaled by SII. 

Currently, SII and ICMR are conducting Phase 2/3 clinical trial of COVISHIELD at 15 different centres across the country. It has reportedly completed the enrolment of all 1600 participants on October 31. 

The COVISHIELD coronavirus vaccine has been developed at the SII Pune laboratory with a master seed from Oxford University/Astra Zeneca. 

Read original article here.