India’s prime minister tours vaccine facilities to probe vaccine development

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited three leading vaccine development and manufacturing sites on Saturday.

In a three-city tour Mr Modi visited the Zydus Cadila facility in the western city of Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech’s facilities in the southern hub of Hyderabad and the Serum Institute of India in Pune.

Following the visits Modi said India’s role in developing vaccines was a global good and he was pleased with the rapid progress being made.

The companies are testing homegrown vaccine options, as well as working on trials of vaccines being developed overseas.

Serum Institute, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, has partnered with global players including AstraZeneca and Novavax Inc to run domestic trials on their vaccine candidates and produce the vaccines, if they secure approvals.

Zydus Cadila is developing an indigenous DNA-based vaccine, ZyCov-D, while privately-held Bharat Biotech is working on a vaccine candidate called COVAXIN in a tie up with state-run Indian Council of Medical Research.

India hopes to complete the final trials on COVAXIN in a month of two, Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister said.

India has recorded 9.39 million COVID-19 infections, second only to the United States.