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Fire breaks out at Indian vaccine manufacturing facility


A major fire broke out on Thursday, 21 January, at a plant being built for the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s biggest vaccine maker, Indiatimes report.

The fire started in the afternoon in the Manjari area of the SII campus, Pune’s chief fire officer, Prashant Ranpise said, adding that 15 firefighters had been deployed to the scene.

The SII is manufacturing millions of doses of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca for India and many other low- and middle-income countries. The company is also getting ready to produce a vaccine being developed by the US company Novavax Inc.

There was no immediate word on any casualties, nor on the cause of the fire. This month Indian regulators approved two vaccines, Covishield, produced by the Serum Institute, and Covaxin, made by Bharat Biotech, based in Hyderabad.

India launched one of the world’s largest vaccine rollouts on Saturday, 16 January, with the aim of inoculating 300million people by July. The country exported its first batch of the Covishield vaccine on Wednesday, to Bhutan and the Maldives. It has also sent 2million doses to Bangladesh and 1million to Nepal. India plans to offer 20million doses to neighbouring countries in South Asia, followed by Latin America, Africa and Central Asia.




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