Five workers were killed after a fire broke out at an under construction facility of the world´s largest vaccine manufacturer located in India.
The Serum Institute of India in Pune produces millions of doses of the Covishield coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
Officials assured that the manufacturing unit of the Covid vaccine is safe and has not been affected by fire, as the building complex where the fire broke out is a few minutes drive from where the Covid vaccines are manufactured.
“We are focusing on rescuing the people stuck. I don’t care about anything else. We are looking out to save our people first. We will asses the damage later,” Adar Poonawalla, CEO and owner of Serum Institute of India said.
He said that multiple buildings have been kept in reserve to meet such situations.
“I would like to reassure all governments and the public that there would be no loss of Covishield production due to multiple production buildings that I had kept in reserve to deal with such contingencies at Serum Institute of India,” Poonawalla tweeted.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said the priority is to avoid further damage at the facility.
“The work of controlling the fire at Serum Institute is on at war footing. The city and district administration is doing its work. I am taking updates from the district collector. We have ordered a thorough inquiry into the incident,” said Pawar.
Last month, Poonawalla said in an interview that they hoped to increase production capacity from 1.5 billion doses to 2.5 billion doses per year by the end of 2021.
The decision comes after rich countries have bought about 9 billion out of 12 billion coronavirus vaccine doses projected to be produced this year.
The company aims to make most of the vaccines that will be sold to developing nations.