64 ambassadors and high commissioners of various countries visited two key biotech companies in Hyderabad that are developing vaccines against coronavirus. The envoys first stopped at Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and next at Biological E.
"In a first, a visit of more than 60 Heads of Missions was arranged to the research and manufacturing facilities of the leading biotechnology companies, Bharat Biotech and Biological E, in Hyderabad," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava tweeted.
Last month, the Foreign Ministry had briefed over 190 heads of diplomatic missions and representatives of leading international organisations on Covid-related issues.
In a first, a visit of more than 60 Heads of Missions was arranged to the research and manufacturing facilities of the leading biotechnology companies, Bharat Biotech and Biological E, in Hyderabad. pic.twitter.com/IaeOPDurlW— Anurag Srivastava (@MEAIndia) December 9, 2020
Bharat Biotech, developing India's first indigenous vaccine candidate, Covaxin, with Indian Council of Medical Research, on Monday requested for approval of its vaccine. Bharat Biotech is the third drugmaker to request for government approval of its Covid vaccine.
At Bharat Biotech, the pharma firm's chairman and managing director Dr Krishna Ella made a presentation to the foreign heads of missions on various aspects of vaccine production in India, news agency PTI quoted sources as saying.
The envoys were conveyed that 33 per cent of global vaccines are produced in genome valley in Hyderabad, they reportedly said.
Biological E. Ltd had said in November that it has started human trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate and expects results by February.
The drugmaker initiated phase I and phase II trials of its vaccine candidate - being developed with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and U.S.-based Dynavax Technologies Corp - after getting the green signal from the Drugs Controller General of India.
The envoys' visit to the pharma firms is the second VIP visit after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 28 visited India's top vaccine hubs in three cities to review the development of coronavirus vaccine and the manufacturing process.
Meanwhile, an expert panel will today review the requests by two pharmaceutical firms, the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech - to approve emergency use of their coronavirus vaccines in India, sources told NDTV. Pfizer's application will not be considered today as the pharma giant is not making a presentation today since its experts from US are not available.
Britain on Tuesday became the first Western country to start mass coronavirus vaccinations with the Pfizer-BioNTech jab.
(With inputs from PTI)