Mr. Modi was briefed by the Bharat Biotech leadership including its founder and chairman Krishna Ella, and scientists.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited vaccine-maker Bharat Biotech’s facility in Hyderabad and reviewed the development of indigenous COVID-19 vaccine candidate Covaxin.
At the plant in Genome Valley, on the city outskirts, Mr. Modi was briefed by the Bharat Biotech leadership including its founder and chairman Krishna Ella, and scientists. Mr. Modi drove down to the plant from the Hakimpet Air Force Station, where he arrived around 1 p.m. from Ahmedabad and was received by Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar.
The Prime Minister spent more than an hour at the Bharat Biotech facility where he is understood to have had a discussion with the company executives on various aspects of the vaccine.
Following the visit, he tweeted: "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".
Bharat Biotech statement
A statement from Bharat Biotech said the Prime Minister’s visit "serves as a great inspiration to our team, and further reinforces our commitment towards scientific discovery, solving public health issues and the nation’s fight against COVID-19".
"We are humbled by the visit of Prime Minister... Bharat Biotech is a leader in pandemic vaccines and we are truly honoured by this recognition," the company said.
The statement said the company takes this opportunity to thank the government of India, regulators, vaccine development partners, medical fraternity, medical investigators, including hospitals for their relentless assistance and cooperation in the development of vaccines and also the phase 3 clinical trials for Covaxin.
"We greatly appreciate every volunteer who has come forward for the trial thus far and we thank you for your service to the nation. Bharat reiterates our commitment towards developing a safe and efficacious vaccine for all," it said.
Bharat Biotech is developing Covaxin in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The indigenous, inactivated vaccine is being developed and manufactured at the company’s BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) High Containment facility located in Genome Valley.
The Phase III clinical trials of Covaxin had commenced earlier this month and involve 26,000 volunteers across 25 sites in the country. The Prime Minister's visit to Bharat Biotech was part of a three-city tour he is undertaking in a day to take stock of the work being undertaken by three companies on development of COVID-19 vaccine.
Earlier in the day, he visited the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, after which he tweeted: "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”.
From Hyderabad, the Prime Minister is scheduled to leave for Pune where he will be visiting the manufacturing facility of Serum Institute of India (SII).