Hyderabad: The Hyderabad’s position as the vaccine capital of the world was testified once again on Wednesday, with envoys from 64 countries visiting the facilities of Bharat Biotech and Biological E here, with both firms being at the forefront in research to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
The high-profile foreign delegation, which reached Hyderabad by a special Air India flight, had Ambassadors and High Commissioners from countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania. After the touchdown, they proceeded to Genome Valley on the city outskirts to visit the two companies. The visit was organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and was part of efforts to develop partnerships for the manufacture and delivery of vaccines.
Officials said the diplomats, divided into two batches, went around the companies to see the facilities developed for research and manufacture of vaccines. Top officials of both the companies briefed the envoys about the progress made so far and the rollout plans once the vaccines got approval from regulators.
At Bharat Biotech, the delegation was briefed by Dr Krishna Ella, chairman and managing director, who is spearheading Covaxin research, development, clinical trials and production teams. The envoys were apprised of the company’s research process, manufacturing capabilities and expertise through virtual and physical tours of the facilities. According to an official statement, the diplomats voiced their appreciation of the company’s work of national and global public health significance.
Covaxin, India’s indigenous Covid-19 vaccine, is being developed in Bharat Biotech’s BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) bio-containment facility. According to the company, the candidate is a highly purified and inactivated two-dose SARS-CoV2 vaccine, manufactured in a vero cell manufacturing platform with an excellent safety track record of more than 300 million doses. Phase-3 human clinical trials are on, this being India’s first and only Phase-3 efficacy study for a Covid-19 vaccine.
Biological E, on the other hand, had last month initiated a clinical trial of its Covid-19 subunit vaccine candidate in India following approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI). It is making the vaccine in collaboration with Dynavax Technologies Corporation (Dynavax), a US-based biopharmaceutical company, and Baylor College of Medicine, a health sciences university in Houston.
Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, addressing the diplomats, said despite being the youngest State in the country, Telangana had achieved tremendous progress under the leadership of Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao. The combined value of the pharma sector in the State was around $50 billion.
“Hyderabad is the vaccine hub of not only India but also the world with 33 per cent of the entire vaccine production being done here,” he said, also briefing the diplomats on the State’s TS-iPASS policy for speedy approvals to industries.
Principal Secretary (IT and Industries) Jayesh Ranjan made a power-point presentation showcasing the investment potential of the State. Announcing that the Hyderabad Pharma City would be operational in a couple of months, he said a medical devices park too was being set up on 500 acres near the Outer Ring Road.
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