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21 January, 2021 06:00:39 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 21 January, 2021 07:49:01 PM
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Fire engulfs India's Covid vaccine production facility

UNB, NEW DELHI
Fire engulfs India's Covid vaccine production facility

A major fire broke out at a Covid vaccine manufacturing plant owned by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in the western state of Maharashtra's Pune city on Thursday afternoon, officials said. This morning only, Bangladesh received two million doses of the pharma company's vaccine Covishield as a gift from India.

Company officials, however, said that the fire would not affect the production of Covid-19 vaccine Covishield, developed by Oxford University and British-Swedish pharma giant AstraZeneca. Covishield is being widely used in India's mega inoculation drive.

The blaze, in fact, started at the fourth and fifth floors of an under-construction building at the plant spread over 100 acres in Pune, a fire official said. "The site is close to the main vaccine production facility. Some 12 fire tenders have been pressed into service to contain the fire from spreading. Three men, who got trapped, have also been rescued," he said.

When asked about any casualties in the fire, the official said, "As of now, we do not have details about the nature of the fire, extent of damages, or the causes. Our priority will be to bring the fire under control and avert any damages or casualties."

Local TV channels beamed footage of white smoke billowing out of the under-construction building of SII, which claims to be "the world's largest vaccine maker". 

Company officials told the media that the building was being built to enhance the company's production capacity. "The ill-fated structure is part of eight buildings in the Manjari special economic zone complex, being built to enhance the production of Covishield for domestic use as well as exports," a company official said.

Chief Minister of the western Indian state of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray has already directed the Pune Municipal Commissioner to take all necessary measures to contain the fire. "The CM has directed state machinery to coordinate and ensure that situation is under control," said the CM office.

India Saturday rolled out the world's largest Covid vaccination drive. Covidshield and local company Bharat Biotech's Covaxin are currently being given to frontline health workers across the country. India is also sending vaccines to neighbouring countries. Last year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the SII facility.

HM

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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