Highlights from PM Narendra Modi's three-city vaccine tour
Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a tour on Saturday to visit medical research facilities in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad ,and Pune to review the developments of the COVID-19 vaccine in India, as well as understand the auxiliary facilities needed to store and transport the vaccines.
The PM's Office had tweeted about the undertaking on Friday, saying he will visit Zydus Cadila's plant near Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech's facility in Hyderabad and Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune.
Here's a quick rundown of his visits:
- PM Modi first arrived at Zydus Cadila's manufacturing facility near Ahmedabad. Donning a PPE suit, he held discussions with the promoters and executives of the company. He tweeted:
Zydus recently announced that it will apply to begin Phase 3 of its clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine in December, and aim to launch it by March 2021, according to media reports. The pharma company is expected to submit results from Phase 2 trials very soon.
- PM Modi then arrived at Hyderabad's Bharat Biotech facility located at Genome valley, a high-tech business district in the city. The research facility is developing the vaccine - named Covaxin - along with ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) and National Institute of Virology. He tweeted:
Bharat Biotech is currently in Phase 3 of its human trials, and is testing the vaccine on 26,000 participants across 25 centres across India.
- PM Modi's last stop was Pune, where he visited the Serum Institute of India to review the progress of the vaccine development, as well as gain an understanding of its distribution mechanism, according to an official. SII is developing the vaccine in collaboration with global pharma behemoth, AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
AstraZeneca recently announced that its vaccine showed a 90 percent efficacy in combatting the coronavirus. However, some scientists have raised doubts about its results due to some dosage issues. The drugmaker said on Thursday that it will likely run an additional global trial to reassess the efficacy of its vaccine. Late-stage trials in Britain and Brazil showed its experimental vaccine prevented 70 percent of COVID-19 cases, on average.
- Hindustan Times on Saturday reported that the PM had taken up Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel's offer to set up a specialised refrigerated vaccine transportation plant in Gujarat to ensure delivery of the vaccine to villages in India. The Luxembourg-based firm, B Medical Systems, will be sending a team next week to Gujarat to set up a vaccine cold chain, including solar vaccine refrigerators, freezers and transport boxes, it reported citing official sources.