Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates visited Biological E. Ltd, a leading vaccine manufacturer, and the International Crops Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) near Hyderabad on Thursday on a private trip kept completely under wraps.
Bill Gates, who is also co-chairperson of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, visited Biological E. Ltd. late on Thursday evening, the company said in a statement on Friday.
"Mr. Bill Gates congratulated Biological E. on the science and innovation platform of the company that allows it to supply effective and affordable vaccines," the statement said.
"Our company is committed to manufacturing quality vaccines at prices that make them one of the most cost-effective investments in global health. We are very proud to support immunisation needs of the world's poorest countries and supply life-saving vaccines to underprivileged children in the world," said Mahima Datla, managing director of Biological E after meeting Bill Gates.
His private one-day visit was kept secret for security reasons. The media and junior officials at ICRISAT were not informed.
He arrived at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in a private jet and reached ICRISAT at Patancheru in Medak district, about 50 km from Hyderabad. He interacted with scientists and ICRISAT officials about various food security programmes.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding ICRISAT's Village Dynamics Studies in South Asia (VDSA), a project aimed at fighting hunger and alleviation of poverty in dry lands.