The Serum Institute of India in Pune was up in flames earlier today. It is currently the world's largest COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer having already sent out two million doses to Bangladesh and one million doses to Nepal.
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Lives lost in the fire
The plant is most notably known for producing millions of jabs developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
Initial reports stated that there had been no fatalities but the statement was later retracted when Adar Poonawalla, SII's CEO, confirmed that there had been in fact as many as 5 people whose lives were lost in the fire:
Upon further investigation we have learnt that there has unfortunately been some loss of life at the incident. We are deeply saddened and offer our deepest condolences to the family members of the departed.
No confirmation has yet to have been given regarding the cause of the blaze but what is known so far is that the fire started at a construction site on the 100-acre facility in Pune.
Will this affect production of the vaccine?
Thankfully, production will not be halted and reports have also come out to say that vaccine stocks have not been affected either.
The Serum Institute of India is also currently manufacturing a vaccine developed for India as well as other low and middle income countries with the aim to distribute over 20 million doses to South and Central Asia, Latin America and Africa.
The U.S company Novavax Inc will soon be developing a vaccine that will be produced at the SII.