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COVID-19 vaccine | PM Modi concludes his 3-city tour to review vaccine development and manufacturing; all you need to know

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad, and Serum Institute of India in Pune

November 28, 2020 / 08:59 PM IST
(Image: @narendramodi twitter handle)

(Image: @narendramodi twitter handle)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded his three-city tour to personally review vaccine development and manufacturing process for potential COVID-19 vaccine candidates in the country.

He visited Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad, and Serum Institute of India in Pune.

The Prime Minister stressed that India considers vaccines as not only vital to good health, but also as a global good, and it is India’s duty to assist other countries, including the nations in our neighbourhood, in the collective fight against the virus, said the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

At Zydus Cadilla in Ahmedabad, the first stop on his tour, Modi spent over an hour at the plant. Modi intended to learn more about the indigenous DNA vaccine candidate being developed by the firm.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Shortly after his visit to the Hyderabad-based firm, Modi tweeted:

The Prime Minister then departed via flight to Hyderabad at 11:40 am, and landed at Hakimpet Air Force station near Hyderabad around 1 pm to proceed towards Bharat Biotech vaccine manufacturing facility at Genome valley, located around 20 km from the air station, by road.

At his visit to the Hyderabad-based firm's premises, Modi reviewed the development process of Covaxin. He also interacted with the directors of Bharat Biotech's Chairman and Managing Directior  Krishna Ella, scientists and senior management.

In his tweet about the visit, Modi congratulated the scientists for their progress in the development of their indigenous vaccine candidate:

Shortly after his visit to Bharat Biotech, the PM set off to Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII).

Upon landing in Pune at 4:30 pm, Modi proceeded by helicopter to SII at Manjari, located 17 km from the airport.

At the institute, Modi tweeted:

After the trip concluded, in a press conference, Adar Poonawalla, CEO and owner, SII said the firm was ready to apply for an emergency licence in next 2 weeks.

Poonawalla said he doesn't see any need for additional trials in India other than a trial for under 18 age group, after four months following the licensure. "That's the same thing for all vaccine candidates be it US or Europe," he said.

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