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Bombay-: A fire broke out in the largest vaccine production institute in India and the world, “Serum Institute of India” Thursday, as local television pictures showed, but the media made it clear that the production of anti-Covid-19 vaccines was not affected.
Indian TV footage showed a huge cloud of gray smoke over the institute’s Serum site in Pune (West), where millions of doses of the “Coffeeshield” vaccine, which was developed by AstraZeneca Laboratories and the University of Oxford, are currently being produced to combat Covid-19.
But the channels indicated that the fire broke out at a site under construction far from vaccine production facilities. A source in the “Serum Institute of India” told AFP that “the vaccine production facility was not affected and this will not affect production,” explaining that the fire “broke out in a new factory under construction.”
“We have sent six or seven fire engines to the scene. We do not have other information to announce at this time about the extent of the fire or whether anyone is trapped,” an official at the firefighters ’barracks in the area told AFP.
Police in Pune told Agence France-Presse that their teams arrived at the scene, without giving further details.
India is the second country most affected by the epidemic after the United States, with more than 10 million infections, although its death rate is among the lowest in the world.
In early January, two vaccines AstraZeneca, developed by Oxford University and produced by the Institute of India Serum, and Cofaxine, made by the local Bharat Beautique company, were approved urgently.
Last Saturday, India launched one of the largest vaccination campaigns in the world, aiming to vaccinate up to 300 million people by July.