All-party Covid meet on Dec 4

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30

With the national Covid-19 caseload crossing the 94 lakh mark today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair an all-party meeting on Friday to discuss the pandemic and related challenges, including vaccine rollout, economy and post-Covid India.

The government said floor leaders of both Houses of Parliament had been invited for the virtual meeting in which ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Harsh Vardhan will be present. The meeting comes close on the heels of the PM’s visits to Covid vaccine hubs in India.

100 envoys to visit Serum Institute

Ambassadors of 100 countries are scheduled to arrive in Pune on December 4 to visit Serum Institute of India and Gennova Biopharma with Sweden already acknowledging India’s role as the ‘pharmacy of the world’. Luxembourg-based B Systems is partnering with India to produce portable vaccine refrigeration equipment, which will address the issue of vaccine distribution.

Eyeing self-reliance in vaccine production, the PM today engaged three more vaccine makers, seeking suggestions on the modalities of the regulatory processes. “India is looking to be self-reliant in both development and production of the vaccine. While at least five pharmaceutical companies of India are engaged in vaccine development, Serum Institute in Pune has been chosen for mass production of Covishield developed by Oxford-Astra Zeneca. The Centre has initiated a robust vaccine manufacturing and delivery ecosystem to meet the demand,” the government said.

The PM today followed up his three-city visit to the facilities of Zydus in Ahmedabad, Serum Institute in Pune and Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad with a virtual review of the progress of indigenous vaccine development undertaken by Gennova Biopharma of Pune and Biological E and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories in Hyderabad today. Dr Reddy’s is working with Russia to scale up Sputnik V vaccine, whose advanced trials are underway in India.

The PM asked the companies to give ideas regarding the regulatory processes and related matters.

He also asked them to start informing the public in simple language about the vaccine and efficacy issues.

Matters relating to logistics, transport and cold chain in respect of delivering the vaccines were also discussed.

The government has already announced a stimulus package of Rs 900 crore for “Mission Covid Suraksha” to promote indigenous vaccine development. This grant will go to the Department of Biotechnology for Research and Development of Indian Covid-19 vaccines and ensure that they are fast-tracked for introduction in public health systems, subject to regulatory clearances.

Ten vaccine candidates have been supported by the biotechnology department so far at academia and industry level and of these five are in human trials stage.

Meanwhile, India saw 38,772 new infections in 24 hours as against higher recoveries 45,333 over the same period.

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