PM Modi meets Indian Covid vaccine manufacturers; CEOs say his leadership key force in vaccination drive

Representatives from Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Zydus Cadila, Biological E, Gennova Biopharma and Panacea Biotech attended the meeting

PM Modi meets Indian Covid vaccine manufacturers; CEOs say his leadership key force in vaccination drive

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and other officials during a meeting with Covid-19 vaccine makers in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 23

Two days after India crossed the one billion Covid dose milestone, prime minister Narendra Modi met domestic vaccine makers hailing their enterprise and urged them to gear for potential future pandemics.

The engagement saw the PM discuss ways to take Indian vaccine manufacturing forward and industry leaders lauding “a never before seen government-private collaboration for public good.”

Cyrus Poonawalla, SII

Had it not been for the PM and his drive, India would not have been able to make a billion doses. We will make India self-sufficient in Covid vaccines at the lowest possible price in the world. One billion doses were achieved only because the PM went out of his way and made regulatory processes fast. 

 “We discussed how to take the vaccine industry forward and prepare for future pandemics, how to continue enhancing our capacity. All over the world now, countries are going to invest in vaccine production and India needs to be on the forefront of that. We talked of how to do that with the government,” said Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute, the makers of Covishield which constitutes 90 pc of the Indian vaccine supplies currently.

The interaction was attended by  SII patron Cyrus Poonawalla; Krishna Ella Suchitra Ella of Bharat Biotech International (Covaxin makers); Pankaj Patel and Shervil Patel of Zydus Cadila (developers of the world’s first DNA Covid vaccine ZyCov-D recently cleared by the drug regulator).

Pankaj Patel, Zydus Cadila:

 PM's support is the biggest factor behind our ability to develop the world's first DNA vaccine. We had assured government support through inconveniences. We are proud that the PM mentioned the DNA vaccine in his UNGA speech. The new chapter of innovation that has begun will make quick progress.

Mahima Datla and Narender Mantela of Biological E; Sanjay Singh and Satish Ramanlal Mehta of Gennova Biopharmaceuticals; Satish Reddy and Deepak Sapra of Dr. Reddy's Lab and Rajesh Jain and Harshit Jain of Panacea Biotec also attended along with Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.

The PM praised vaccine manufacturers for helping India cross the 100 crore vaccination milestone and imbuing citizens with confidence.

He asked for best practices of the Covid years to be institutionalized.

“This is an opportunity to modify Indian practices in line with global standards. The world is looking up to India in the backdrop of the success of our vaccination drive. Domestic vaccine makers should work together to be ready for future challenges,” the PM said at the meeting at his residence.

Industry leaders hailed PM’s leadership saying one billion dose mark could not have been achieved without his backing.

Krishna Ella, Bharat Biotech

The PM was determined to convert early negativity around COVAXIN into an opportunity and inspired Indian innovation by becoming the first to accept the indigenous Covaxin. This is the greatest thing a leader anyone can do for his country.

They hailed applauded regulatory reforms, simplified procedures, timely approvals, and forthcoming and supportive nature of the government throughout Covid innovation years.

The leaders noted that with old practices, there would have been considerable delays and the current pace of vaccine coverage would not have become possible.

“The regulatory reforms the government brought are praiseworthy,” Adar Poonawalla said.

 

 

Tribune Shorts


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