Fire Guts India ‘s Largest Coronavirus Vaccine Facility, Kills Five

 Fire Guts India ‘s Largest Coronavirus Vaccine Facility, Kills Five

On Thursday, fire tore through part of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturing center in western India, but the organization maintained that there was no effect on the development of drugs to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The Serum Institute of India develops millions of doses of the AstraZeneca and Oxford University-developed Covishield coronavirus vaccine. TV channels showed dense clouds of gray smoke billowing from Pune’s sprawling location.

“It is not going to affect production of the Covid-19 vaccine,” a Serum Institute source told AFP, adding that the blaze was at a new facility being built on the 100-acre (40-hectare) campus. A fire official told reporters that “three or four people were inside” when the blaze broke out, but all had been rescued.

“No one is trapped inside,” the official said, adding that the blaze had been brought under control. Both police and the company said the cause of the blaze was not immediately known. The firm’s billionaire chief executive Adar Poonawalla tweeted that “the most important thing is that there have been no lives lost or major injuries due to the fire, despite a few floors being destroyed”.

The complex where the fire broke out is a few minutes’ drive from the facility where coronavirus vaccines are produced, reports said. Up to nine buildings are under construction at the complex to enhance Serum’s manufacturing capability, NDTV reported.

Ayomide Oyewole

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