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PM Modi takes 3 city tour in a day to review vaccine work

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday visited Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune to review coronavirus vaccine development work there.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said the day-long visit was aimed at getting a first-hand perspective of the preparations, challenges and roadmap in India’s endeavor to vaccinate its citizens.
Modi began by visiting pharma major Zydus Cadila’s manufacturing facility near Ahmedabad. Wearing a PPE kit, he reviewed the vaccine development process at the company’s research center, located over 20 km from Ahmedabad.
Modi was extensively briefed about the vaccine 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.
“Visited the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad to know more about the indigenous DNA based vaccine being developed by Zydus Cadila. I compliment the team behind this effort for their work. Government of India is actively working with them to support them in this journey,” Modi tweeted after the visit.
Zydus Cadila chairman Pankaj Patel recently said the company is aiming to complete the vaccine trial by March 2021, and could produce up to 100 million doses a year.
Modi spent over an hour at the plant, before leaving for the airport, from where he left for Hyderabad at 11.40 am.
Modi landed at Hakimpet Air Force station near Hyderabad around 1 pm and proceeded to pharma major Bharat Biotech’s vaccine manufacturing facility at Genome valley, located around 20 km from the air station, by road.
At the facility, he reviewed the progress of Covaxin, a vaccine candidate being developed by the company. He also interacted with Bharat Biotech Chairman and Managing Director Krishna Ella, scientists and senior management.
“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,” Modi tweeted after his hour-long visit there.
Covaxin, being developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology, is undergoing phase-3 trials.
At 3.20 pm, Modi took off for Pune, where he landed at 4.30 pm. From the airport, Modi proceeded by helicopter to the Serum Institute of India (SII) at Manjari, located 17 km from the airport.
Modi interacted with scientists at the Serum Institute of India and went around the facility, taking stock of vaccine development work being carried out there, before leaving for the Pune airport around 6 pm on the way back to Delhi. 
Modi’s visit to SII was aimed at reviewing the progress of the vaccine candidate for coronavirus and to know about its launch, production and distribution mechanism, an official said. Serum Institute of India has partnered with pharma giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University for the vaccine.

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India races to release first Covid-19 vaccine by Aug 15

New Delhi: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has partnered with Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) for clinical trials of an indigenous vaccine for the coronavirus disease.

BBIL is using the virus strain isolated at ICMR’s National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune to develop the vaccine.

The clinical trials will be held in 12 institutes across the country. The ICMR has asked these institutes to fast-track clinical trials of the vaccine as it is being considered as one of the “top priority projects” which are being “monitored at the topmost level of the government”.

In a letter to these institutes, the ICMR said that it is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use latest by August 15 (India’s Independence Day), after completion of all clinical trials.

“BBIL is working expeditiously to meet the target, however, the final outcome will depend on the cooperation of all clinical trial sites involved in this project,” it further said in the letter.

It has also asked the institutes to ensure that the subject enrolment is initiated during the first week of July.

Meanwhile, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) on Thursday granted permission to pharma giant Zydus Cadila to conduct phase I and phase II human clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccine.

The potential vaccine showed a “strong immune response” in animal studies, and the antibodies produced were able to completely neutralize the wild type virus, Zydus, part of Cadila Healthcare Ltd, said in a statement to Indian stock exchanges.

Zydus will begin human trials this month in over 1,000 subjects in multiple sites in India, it said.

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