At least five people died in a fire on Thursday at the site of the world’s largest vaccine producer in western India.
Images from Reuters Participant ANI showed black smoke coming from a building, which was still under construction at the Serum Institute of India facilities in Pune city. The fire was brought under control, but authorities later announced that five people had died.
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“We have just received some disturbing updates; On further investigation, we came to know that unfortunately there was some loss of life and property in this incident, ”Ser Poonawala, CEO of Serum Institute of India, Tweeted. “We are deeply saddened and our deepest condolences to the family members of the deceased.”
Muralidhar Mohol, mayor of Pune city in southern Maharashtra state, said the bodies found in the rubble after extinguishing the fire were, according to potential construction workers, The Associated Press. The cause of the fire is not clear at this time.
The Serum Institute of India has been contracted to produce one month of the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. In an interview with The Associated Press last month, Poonawala said that he is aiming to increase production from 1.5 billion doses to 2.5 billion annually by the end of 2021. The facility under construction was part of the expansion, but Poonawala said the fire would not affect production. In the form of a vaccine, locally known as Covishield.
“I would like to assure all governments and the public that there will be no loss of #COVISHIELD production due to the many production buildings I put in @SerumInstIndia to deal with such contingencies.” Tweeted.
India recently approved a vaccine from AstraZeneca-Oxford University for emergency use earlier this month, along with another developed in the country. Approval for AstraZeneca shot in the US Immediate.
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