PM to visit three cities to review coronavirus vaccine development
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit three cities today to review the coronavirus vaccine development and manufacturing process, his office revealed. This visit comes days after he held a virtual meeting with all Chief Ministers and told them to ensure the distribution of the vaccine remains smooth. In the last couple of weeks, encouraging developments have trickled in from across the globe.
Ahmedabad is his first stop, followed by Pune
PM Modi's first stop will be Zydus Cadila's plant near Ahmedabad. He is expected to arrive there by 9:30 am. Cadila's vaccine, dubbed ZyCoV-D, started its phase II trials in August. From Gujarat's city, he will fly to Pune, where the headquarters of the Serum Institute of India is based. SII is the largest manufacturer of vaccines in the world.
SII looking at rolling out 100 million doses by Jan-Feb
Notably, SII has partnered with Oxford University and British pharma giant AstraZeneca for mass production of the vaccine, which was found to be 70% effective in large-scale trials. This week, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said his company can roll out 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by January-February. Each dose of the vaccine, called Covishield, will cost Rs. 500-600, he claimed earlier.
PM Modi will also visit Bharat BioTech
After Pune, PM Modi will visit Hyderabad, home to Bharat BioTech. The company's product, dubbed COVAXIN, is being promoted as the first indigenous vaccine. Earlier, an ET report highlighted that trials continued despite an adverse event. Later, the company also confirmed that a participant had to be hospitalized after receiving the dose in July. He was discharged after a week, said the company.
PM Modi will leave Hyderabad by 5:40 pm
PM Modi will reach Hyderabad around 3:40 pm and after spending more than an hour at the facility, he would fly out at 5:40 pm. About his visit to Ahmedabad, Gujarat Deputy CM Nitin Patel said, "He will visit Zydus Cadila's facility to get first-hand information about the progress made by the company so far in terms of the development of vaccine against coronavirus."
This visit will give PM a perspective, said his office
PMO said in a statement that the three-city tour is meant to give him a first-hand perspective. "As India enters a decisive phase of the fight against COVID-19, PM Modi's visit to these facilities and discussions with the scientists will help him get a first-hand perspective of the preparations, challenges, and roadmap in India's endeavor to vaccinate its citizens, (sic)" his office said.