PM visits Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune to review vaccine development
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune on Saturday to take the stock of Covid-19 vaccine development in the cities.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said that his visit was aimed at receiving first-hand perspective of the preparations, challenges and roadmap in India’s mission to vaccinate its citizens.
Modi started his tour by visiting the Zydus Cadila's manufacturing facility near Ahmedabad. Wearing a PPE kit, Modi reviewed the vaccine development process at the Zydus Cadila research centre in Changodar industrial area, over 20 km from Ahmedabad.
Modi was extensively briefed about the vaccine development 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.
"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. The Government of India is actively working with them to support them in this journey," the prime minister tweeted later.
Zydus Cadila chairman Pankaj Patel recently said the company is aiming to complete the vaccine trial by March 2021 and could produce up to 100 million doses a year. Modi spent over an hour at the plant, before leaving for the airport, from where he left for Hyderabad at 11.40 am.
Modi landed at the Hakimpet Air Force Station in the southern city where he was received by Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, Director General of Police and other officials.
Thereafter, proceeded to Bharat Biotech's facility located at Genome valley, located around 20 kilometers from the air force station.
At the Bharat Biotech facility, the prime minister reviewed the development works of Covaxin, which is being made by the company to fight against Covid-19. He also interacted with Bharat Biotech Chairman and Managing Director Krishna Ella, scientists and senior management.
"At the Bharat Biotech facility in Hyderabad, was briefed about their indigenous COVID-19 vaccine. Congratulated the scientists for their progress in the trials so far. Their team is closely working with ICMR to facilitate speedy progress," he tweeted after the hour-long visit at the facility.
The Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, being developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology is now undergoing phase-3 trials.
Modi landed at Pune at 4:20 pm on Friday, after starting off from Hyderabad at 3:30 pm. He proceeded towards the Serum Institute of India (SII) at Manjari in a helicopter.
At the facility, the prime minister interacted with scientists and took stock of the vaccine development work being carried out at the institute. Following that, he left for the Pune airport at 6 pm on his way back to Delhi.
Modi's visit to SII was aimed at reviewing the progress of the vaccine candidate for coronavirus and to know about its launch, production and distribution mechanism, an official said.
Serum Institute of India has partnered with pharma giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University for the vaccine.