Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune on Saturday evening on the last leg of his three-city visit to review COVID-19 vaccine development in the country.
The prime minister had visited Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad and Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad before reaching Pune. After landing at Pune airport around 4.30 pm, Modi proceeded to the Serum Institute by helicopter.
The SII has partnered with global pharma giant AstraZeneca and the Oxford University for COVID-19 vaccine. The prime minister reviewed the progress of the vaccine candidate and its expected launch, production and distribution mechanism.
Earlier in the morning, Modi visited pharma major Zydus Cadila's manufacturing facility near Ahmedabad and reviewed the vaccine development process. After his arrival at Ahmedabad airport from Delhi shortly after 9 am, Modi flew to the Zydus Cadila plant and held discussions with the promoters and executives of the company, an official said.
Zydus Cadila has announced that the phase-I clinical trial of its vaccine candidate ZyCoV-D is over and it has commenced phase-II clinical trials from August.
The prime minister later flew to Hyderabad. After landing at Hakimpet Air Force station around 1 pm,Modi proceeded to the facility at Genome valley, a life sciences cluster about 20 km from the AF base by road amid tight security.
Modi interacted with Bharat Biotechs Chairman and Managing Director Krishna Ella, scientists and senior management, who appraised the PM of the progress of the vaccine candidate.
He will take off to Delhi in the evening.