Sixty-four Heads of Missions from various countries visited the Bharat Biotech facility in Hyderabad on Wednesday, 9 December, as a part of an official visit to two key facilities that are developing the COVID-19 vaccine in India. The envoys also visited Biological E Ltd’s vaccine-manufacturing facilities.Last month, the Foreign Ministry had briefed over 190 heads of diplomatic missions and representatives of leading international organisations on Covid-related issues. In a first, a visit of more than 60 Heads of Missions was arranged to the research and manufacturing facilities of the leading biotechnology companies, Bharat Biotech and Biological E, in Hyderabad.
Bharat Biotech, developing India’s first indigenous vaccine candidate, Covaxin, with Indian Council of Medical Research, on Monday requested for approval of its vaccine. Bharat Biotech is the third drug maker to request for government approval of its Covid vaccine. At Bharat Biotech, the pharma firm’s chairman and managing director Dr Krishna Ella made a presentation to the foreign heads of missions on various aspects of vaccine production in India. The envoys were conveyed that 33 per cent of global vaccines are produced in genome valley in Hyderabad. Biological E. Ltd had said in November that it has started human trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate and expects results by February.
The drug maker initiated phase I and phase II trials of its vaccine candidate being developed with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and U.S.-based Dynavax Technologies Corp after getting the green signal from the Drugs Controller General of India. The envoys’ visit to the pharma firms is the second VIP visit after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 28 visited India’s top vaccine hubs in three cities to review the development of coronavirus vaccine and the manufacturing process.