PM to visit Covid-19 vaccine development sites

Our Bureau Our Bureaus Pune/Ahemedabad | Updated on November 26, 2020 Published on November 26, 2020

Sources say PM likely to visit Serum Institute in Pune, Zydus Cadila’s facility in Ahmedabad on Saturday

Amid growing excitement around development of India’s own Covid-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Covid-19 vaccine makers on November 28 to assess the progress of vaccine development and understand the mechanisms for distribution.

Pune’s Divisional Commissioner’s office has confirmed Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Serum Institute of India’s (SII) facility saying that the SPG team is already in Pune ahead of the meeting. The PM will be at SII between 1 pm and 2 pm and will have discussions with Serum officials on Covid-19 vaccine. The district administration is waiting for a detailed programme from PM’s Office.

Also read: Modi seeks States’ cooperation for smooth delivery of Covid-19 vaccine

SII has partnered with AstraZeneca and the Oxford University for a Covid-19 vaccine - Covishield. PM Modi will review the status of the vaccine, including its launch, production and distribution mechanisms during his visit. Meanwhile, Ambassadors and High Commissioners from around 100 countries are scheduled to visit Serum on December 4. The delegation would also visit Gennova Biopharmaceuticals.

While there is no official word from the Prime Minister’s Office so far on the visit, Government sources in Gujarat have confirmed that the Prime Minister will arrive at Ahmedabad on November 28 and visit Zydus Cadila’s Covid-19 vaccine facility located at Changodar on the outskirts of the city. A helipad for the arrival of the Prime Minister is being readied at the site, local authorities informed.

However, Zydus Cadila Chairman Pankaj Patel didn’t respond to Businessline’s queries on the Prime Minister’s arrival and the meeting regarding the vaccine development.

Zydus’ third trial next month

Zydus Cadila is developing one of the Covid-19 vaccine candidates in India under its brand — ZyCov-D, which is a plasmid DNA vaccine. The company has successfully completed first two trials and the third trial is expected to begin in December. Earlier in an interview to Businessline, Patel had informed that Zydus will start producing and stock-piling the vaccines without waiting for the final outcome of the phase-3 trials. It is also setting up a 100-million-doses production facility for ZyCov-D.

Meanwhile, so far there is no word on Prime Minister’s likelihood of visiting Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, which is also developing Covid-19 vaccine candidate - Covaxin - in association with ICMR. Bharat Biotech had recently announced that Covaxin has successfully entered phase-3 clinical trial.

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Published on November 26, 2020
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