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Opinion

Covid-19: More than 60 sent in Hyderabad to visit vaccine facilities

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More than 60 foreign mission chiefs traveled to Hyderabad on Wednesday to visit two biotech companies working on Covid-19 vaccines as part of India’s efforts to develop partnerships for vaccine manufacturing and delivery.

The visit by diplomats to the Bharat Biotech and Biological E facility is a follow-up to the November 6 briefing for the diplomatic corps in New Delhi on ongoing vaccine trials in the country and efforts to manufacture and administer the doses. .

The diplomats, who flew to the southern city on a special Air India flight with all the precautions related to Covid-19, came from different parts of the world. In addition to representatives from countries in the region such as Afghanistan and Bhutan, the group included South Korean envoy Shin Bong-kil and heads of mission from African countries.

“More than 60 heads of missions are being brought to the main biotech companies in Hyderabad. This is the first visit of its kind and will be followed by trips to facilities in other cities, ”said a person familiar with planning the visit.

Others familiar with the developments said that India has been contributing significantly to global efforts against the Covid-19 pandemic and there is a lot of interest in India’s vaccine development and manufacturing efforts.

“India is the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, India’s vaccine production and administration capacity will be used to help all of humanity fight this crisis, ”the person quoted above said.

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Bharat Biotech recently started phase III trials for Covaxin, which is India’s first candidate vaccine against Covid-19. Covaxin appears to have been largely safe and significantly triggered the immune response necessary to fight the infection, according to officials.

Covaxin was developed in collaboration with the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) – National Institute of Virology (NIV) using inactivated Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

The Biological E vaccine candidate is ready to begin the early phases of Trials I and II.

The November 6 briefing, led by Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla, was attended by envoys and senior members of the diplomatic corps. Niti Aayog member VK Paul, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan, and other senior officials were part of the briefing, which was one of the key Covid-19-related interactions handled by the Foreign Ministry .

Given India’s position as the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, many countries, especially developing countries, are looking to New Delhi to help them with dosing. In the midst of the pandemic, India quickly shipped essential medicines and equipment to some 150 countries around the world.

India is looking for partners to co-produce vaccines so they can be made faster and distributed on a larger scale. New Delhi could offer free supply or trial partnerships to countries in South Asia, Europe, West Asia, Africa and Latin America for the vaccine, to ensure that they can adequately protect their populations from Covid-19.

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