The two biotech companies in Hyderabad are developing COVID-19 vaccines. It is going to be the first such visit of foreign delegates in India. The Heads of Missions will visit similar facilities in other cities too

Hyderabad: Foreign delegates from more than 60 countries on Wednesday arrived in Hyderabad to visit leading biotech companies in India which are developing COVID-19 vaccines. The delegates have reached the Bharat Biotech facility in Hyderabad and will proceed to similar facilities in other cities at a later stage.

They are currently taking a tour of the facility after being briefed by Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech International Limited.

The visit of the Foreign Heads of Missions (HoMs) in India was organised in continuation of the COVID-19 briefing by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on November 6.

More than 60 HoMs are being shown the Bharat Biotech and Biological E facilities in Hyderabad.

The first batch of diplomats included envoys from Australia, Denmark, Iran, Bhutan, Brazil, Myanmar, Slovenia, Trinidad & Tobago, South Korea, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, among others.
This is the first such visit of foreign envoys to India and it will be followed by visits to other facilities developing COVID-19 vaccines in other cities in the country.

Luxembourg-based B Medical Systems will set up a cold chain facility for COVID vaccine in India by March. The company's CEO L Provost, who will be visiting the biotech companies, said, "Visit is to transfer technology from Luxembourg to India and set up manufacturing site here. Gujarat is one of the states where we will be investigating sites for it."

Deputy CEO J Doshi said, "We will manufacture in India and our target is to start a manufacturing unit by March 2021. The states of Telangana and Maharashtra are in touch with us."

It should be noted that India is the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world and has been contributing significantly to the global efforts against COVID-19 pandemic.
PM Modi reviews vaccine development

On November 28, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad and Serum Institute of India in Pune to conduct an extensive review of the vaccine development and manufacturing process.

Two days later, he held virtual meetings with groups from Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd Pune, Biological E Ltd Hyderabad and Dr Reddys Laboratories Ltd Hyderabad. These groups are working on the development and production of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Earlier in the day, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare confirmed that Bharat Biotech has applied for Emergency Use Authorisation for its indigenously developed vaccine 'Covaxin'.

It is the second Indian company to apply for emergency use authorisation after the Serum Institute of India applied for such use for the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

In a major announcement, the Health Ministry said that three COVID-19 vaccine candidates in the country are likely to get licensed in the coming weeks.