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Huge fire at India’s COVID-19 vaccine factory

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A major fire broke out on Thursday, at the premises of vaccine manufacturer, Serum Institute of India (SII), in the Indian city of Pune.

The factory is said to be producing millions of doses of the Covishield Covid vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

The company is also preparing to produce U.S vaccine Novavax Inc.

A source at the institute has confirmed that the production of the Coronavirus jabs will not be affected, but the company has declined to comment.

The fire started in the afternoon in the Manjari area of the SII campus, Pune’s chief fire officer, Prashant Ranpise said, adding that 15 fire fighters had been deployed to the scene.

Ranpise said three people had so far been rescued from the building.

“Our teams are checking if any more persons are stuck.

“We do not know what caused the fire or the extent of damages yet,’’ he added.

NDTV news reported citing SII sources that the fire had not affected the facility manufacturing Covishield, the COVID-19 vaccine which has been given emergency authorisation by India’s drugs regulator.

Serum Institute is one of the world’s largest vaccine makers.

According to Chief Executive Officer of the company, Adar Poonawalla, SII plans to manufacture one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the coming year.

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