On the images of Indian television channels, a huge cloud of gray smoke. On Thursday, January 21, a fire broke out at the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. According to local media, the production of Covid-19 vaccines has not been affected.
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At the Serum Institute of India, located in Pune (western India), millions of doses of the Covishield coronavirus vaccine are currently being produced, developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. However, the fire reportedly broke out in a building under construction away from the vaccine production facilities.
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“The vaccine production facility is not affected and this will not affect production”said a source at Serum Intitute of India. “We sent six or seven fire trucks there. We do not have more information to share at this time regarding the extent of the fire or if anyone is trapped ”, said an official from the local fire station. “Police teams have arrived on the spot”, Pune police said.
India is the second most affected country – after the United States – by Covid-19, with more than 10 million reported cases, even though the death rate is one of the lowest in the world. In early January, two vaccines were urgently approved: Covishield, developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford and produced by the Serum Institute of India, and Covaxin, manufactured by the local company Bharat Biotech. On Saturday, the country launched one of the most ambitious campaigns in the world, aiming to vaccinate 300 million people by July.