Ahmedabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrapped up his three-city vaccine tour on Saturday, starting with pharmaceutical major Zydus Cadila’s plant in Gujarat to review the development of the much-awaited coronavirus inoculation and its manufacturing process.
On the one hand, the trial of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin vaccine has started in Ahmedabad, while, on the other, the final phase test of Zydus Cadila Healthcare’s corona vaccine ZyCov-d vaccine is also underway. PM Modi arrived at the Zydus Biotech Park from Ahmedabad airport at 9.45 am, where he inspected the trial vaccine developed by the company. The PM had a meeting with Pankaj Patel, chairman of Zydus Biotech, to discuss the vaccine.
He then reviewed the vaccine in consultation with the scientists who developed the vaccine. PM Modi wore a PPE kit and inspected the trial of the corona vaccine at the Zydus plant. He stayed at the Zydus Biotech Park for about an hour. He then flew from the Changodar helipad to Hyderabad by an Air Force helicopter. There, he visited Bharat Biotech and later visited the Serum Institute of India in Pune.
After PM Modi’s visit to Zydus, Patel said: “All our scientific staff were very encouraged by his visit. He has also provided us with good suggestions and guidance due to his deep understanding and foresight. We are all encouraged that he has visited our plant. In this journey of self-reliant India, 25,000 employees of Zydus and more than 1,800 scientists are constantly working to provide new drugs, new vaccines and new diagnostics against this pandemic.”
PM Modi discussed the results of Phase-II vaccine trials with the scientists working on the Zydus vaccine. The second phase of testing for the Zydus vaccine ZyCov-D began in August and lasted till early November. According to sources, the Prime Minister and Pankaj Patel also discussed the launch of Phase-III trials. The company had earlier talked of launching the third phase of clinical trials from December. After visiting the Zydus Biotech Park, PM Modi tweeted, “Visited Zydus Cadilla to learn about the DNA-based vaccine being developed. The performance of the entire team is commendable and the Government of India is with them in their efforts.”
The PM left for Hyderabad after visiting Zydus. He stopped his convoy on the way and was greeted by people. People had thronged Changodar since morning to see the PM in Ahmedabad. Zydus is working on developing the corona vaccine as well as starting its production. According to sources, the company is also building a plant that can handle 100 million doses in a single plant. A unit of corona vaccine is being prepared at this plant. The vaccine will be produced here on a war-footing after all phases of the vaccine trial are completed. A trial of the vaccine is currently underway at Sola Civil, with volunteers coming for the trial.
Zydus is a Gujarat-based internationally renowned pharmaceutical company. Zydus was involved in research and development from the beginning in developing an anti-coronary vaccine. The Zydus vaccine, which has a completely indigenous formula and an indigenous manufacturing process, is believed to be in the final stages of trial.
A report from Hyderabad on Saturday quoted Bharat Biotech as saying that PM Modi’s visit to their manufacturing facility in Genome Valley served as a great inspiration for the team and further reinforced their commitment towards scientific discovery. “The Prime Minister’s visit served as a great inspiration to our team, and further reinforces our commitment towards scientific discovery, solving public health issues, and the nation’s fight against Covid-19,” Bharat Biotech said in a statement.
Biotech is collaborating with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for indigenous Covid-19 vaccine “Covaxin’ using the virus strain isolated by ICMR’s National Institute of Virology (NIV) based in Pune. Covaxin is currently undergoing Phase III trials.
“Covaxin is India’s first indigenous vaccine undergoing Phase III clinical trials as of now. It is the first, largest, and the only efficacy trial in the developing world, involving a large number of volunteers across 25 sites. The Covaxin Phase III trial is being conducted across India with 26,000 participants. The vaccine will be produced in one-of-its-kind Biosafety Level 3 production facility in the world,” Bharat Biotech said.
PM Modi visited the Biotech facility in Genome Valley of Shamirpet on the outskirts of Hyderabad and reviewed the development of its indigenous Covid-19 vaccine candidate, Covaxin. He was briefed by the Bharat Biotech founder and chairman Krishna Ella, and other scientists about developments in this regard.
“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,” PM Modi wrote on Twitter.
The vaccine company in a tweet said: “Bharat Biotech is humbled and truly grateful to the man behind ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ for his motivation.”
The Prime Minister drove down to the plant from the Hakimpet Air Force Station, where he arrived around 1 pm from Ahmedabad and was received by Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar.
On Saturday evening, PM Modi visited Pune’s Serum Institute of India (SII), which is currently in the process of developing the much-anticipated Covid-19 vaccine. The PM went around the plant premises accompanied by senior officials of the company, who explained the details of the vaccine manufacturing process. “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,” Modi tweeted after his visit, and shared pictures.
The Serum Institute of India, the largest producer of vaccines in the world by volume, has partnered with global pharma giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University for vaccine against Covid-19. With agency inputs.