Modi reviews India's Covid vaccine efforts during tri-city tour

Modi reviews India's Covid vaccine efforts during tri-city tour
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visis the Zydus Biotech Park to review the development of COVID-19 vaccine, in Ahmedabad, Saturday. Photo: PIB

New Delhi/Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi toured three of the nation's leading vaccine development and manufacturing sites on Saturday as coronavirus case counts continue to soar.

Modi conducted a whirlwind three-city tour and visited the Zydus Cadila facility in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech's facilities in Hyderabad and the Serum Institute of India in Pune.

In a series of tweets, Modi congratulated the scientists on their progress and assured them of the government's support. The companies are testing homegrown vaccine options, as well as working on trials of vaccines being developed overseas.

Modi reviews India's Covid vaccine efforts during tri-city tour
Prime Minister Narendra Modi being briefed during a visit to the Zydus Biotech Park to review the development of COVID-19 vaccine, in Ahmedabad, Saturday. Photo: PTI

Serum Institute, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, has partnered with global players including AstraZeneca and Novavax Inc to run domestic trials on their vaccine candidates and produce the vaccines, if they secure approvals.

Zydus Cadila is developing an indigenous DNA-based vaccine, ZyCov-D, while privately-held Bharat Biotech is working on a vaccine candidate called COVAXIN in a tie up with state-run Indian Council of Medical Research.

India hopes to complete final trials on COVAXIN in a month or two, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said earlier this month.

India has recorded 9.35 million COVID-19 infections, second only to the United States. According to the Union Health Ministry, 41,322 new cases and 485 deaths were reported in the country on Saturday.