A day after a massive fire at vaccine-maker Serum Institute of India's Pune facility, in which five people died, CEO Adar Poonawalla said the supply of the coronavirus vaccine Covishield would not be affected.
"This was a brand new facility. It was for the future production of BCG and Rotavirus. No actual vaccine was actually being produced there, so there was no damage to any vaccine," Mr Poonawalla said, addressing a joint press conference with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
The Serum CEO added that there was no damage to Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being used in India's Covid inoculation drive. "Where Covishield is manufactured and stored, no damage was done to that," he said.
The fire broke out on Thursday afternoon in a complex that is under construction and a few minutes' drive from the facility where the Covid vaccines are produced. It was believed to have been caused by an electrical fault.
More than Rs 1,000 crore worth of equipment and products were damaged in the fire, he said.
"The loss is mainly financial. There is no loss to supplies as such," added Mr Poonawalla.
Asked about the possibility of negligence or sabotage, Mr Thackeray said an investigation was on.
"The probe to ascertain the cause of the fire has started and after it is complete, we will come to know whether it was an accident or sabotage. Let us complete the investigation. It is not correct to say anything now," the Chief Minister said.
The responsibility of the five people who died in the fire has been taken by the company, Mr Poonawalla said.
The Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine maker, is spread over 100 acres in Pune.
About eight or nine buildings are being constructed within the 100-acre campus of Serum, which makes vaccines against polio, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B, measles, mumps and rubella. The company has spent nearly a billion dollars in recent years enlarging and improving the giant Pune campus.