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Modi talks to 3 more vaccine firms; seeks ideas for better regulatory process

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 30, 2020

Two days after he visited three centres where Covid-19 vaccines are in advanced stages of development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a virtual meeting with teams that are producing three other antidotes, which would further strengthen India’s position as a vaccine manufacturer for the world.

Interacting with top honchos and scientists at Dr Reddy’s Lab, Biological E, and Gennova Biopharmaceuticals, Modi asked the companies to come up with suggestions and ideas regarding regulatory processes and urged them to explain vaccine safety and efficacy in simple language so that the general public can understand.

Vaccine progress

He also used the opportunity to ascertain the progress on the vaccines they are working on.

On Saturday, Modi had made a whistle-stop tour to Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune to visit the Covid vaccine facilities of Zydus-Cadila, Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India.

At Monday’s meeting, Modi also discussed how the Covid-19 pandemic has placed extraordinary demands on the pharmaceutical industry and how the companies are taking remarkable measures through collaborative forces to address the situation.

He urged government departments concerned to work closely with the vaccine manufacturers and resolve their problems so that the companies’ efforts bear fruit.

While the Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy's is working with Russian Infrastructure Development Fund to test Sputnik V vaccine, Biological E has tied up with Janssen Pharmaceutica (a Johnson & Johnson firm), for carrying out trials and subsequently marketing the latter's adenovirus vector-based vaccine, which is said to require only a single intramuscular shot. Biological E received the drug regulator's nod for conducting early to mid-term human trials of the vaccine last month.

Pune-based Gennova's vaccine, on the other hand, uses the m-RNA vaccine platform technology that was used by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. The Gennova vaccine is currently in pre-clinical trials stage.

Logistics issues

The PM also discussed matters relating to logistics, transport and cold chain arrangements required for delivering the vaccines, which are expected early next year onwards.

A statement issued by Dr Reddy’s said Modi was briefed about the efforts being made by the firm to combat Covid-19 across all stages of the disease, from prevention to critical stages, including about Sputnik V vaccine clinical trials, and the collaborative work with regulators and hospitals in India.

With inputs from Hyderabad Bureau

Published on November 30, 2020

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