Modi reaches Hyderabad to go to Bharat Biotech plant

Hyderabad, November 28

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here on Saturday as part of his three-city tour to take the stock of COVID-19 vaccine development.

After landing at Hakimpet Air Force station here, he was received by Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, Director General of Police and other officials.

He will be proceeding to Bharat Biotech’s facility located at Genome valley, a life sciences cluster about 20 km from the AF base, officials said.

The COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, being developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virologyis now undergoing phase-3 trials.

The vaccine is being developed and will be manufactured at Bharat Biotech’s BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) facility in Genome Valley in Hyderabad.

Modi will be interacting with scientists and senior management of the city-based vaccine maker on the status of Covaxin, officials said.

The Prime Minister will be flying back to the national capital after a stopover in Pune, where he will visit the Serum Institute of India (SII), which has partnered with pharma giant AstraZeneca and the Oxford University for the vaccine.

Earlier in the morning, Modi visited Zydus Cadila’s plant near Ahmedabad, as he began his three-city visit to review ongoing coronavirus vaccine development work.

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.

After his arrival at Ahmedabad airport from Delhi shortly after 9 am, Modi flew to the Zydus Cadila plant and held discussions with the promoters and executives of the company, an official said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at Zydus Biotech Park to review the development of COVID-19 vaccine ZyCOV-D, at Changodar in Ahmedabad on Saturday. PTI Photo

Zydus Cadila has announced that the phase-I clinical trial of its vaccine candidate ZyCoV-D is over and it has commenced phase-II clinical trials from August.

“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.

Zydus Cadila chairman Pankaj Patel recently said the company was aiming to complete the vaccine trial by March 2021 and could produce up to 100 million doses a year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to pharma major Zydus Cadila’s manufacturing facility on Saturday. PTI Photo

After his hour-long visit to the Bharat Biotech’s facility, the PM will proceed to Pune, where he will visit the Serum Institute of India (SII), which has partnered with global pharma giant AstraZeneca and the Oxford University for the vaccine.

The Prime Minister will reach the Serum Institute campus around 4.30 pm, an official has said.

Modi’s hour-long visit to SII is aimed at reviewing the status of the vaccine candidate for coronavirus infection and to know about its launch, production and distribution mechanism, he said.

The Prime Minister will fly back to Delhi in the evening, the official said. PTI

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