A massive fire broke out today at vaccine-maker Serum Institute of India’s Pune facility, at a building that is under construction. It is unlikely to hit the production of Covishield, the coronavirus vaccine developed by the SII in partnership with the Oxford University and British-Swedish pharma firm AstraZeneca.
Massive efforts are on to put out the blaze and several fire engines are at the spot.
“We are trying to rescue one or two people, that’s our only priority now. We will assess the situation later on the damage on all other counts,” Serum CEO Adar Poonawalla told NDTV.
The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, is spread over 100 acres in Pune.
Manjari, the complex where the fire broke out, is a few minutes’ drive from the facility where the Covid vaccines are produced, sources said. It is believed to be part of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
About eight or nine buildings are being constructed at the Manjari complex to deal with future pandemics and these are aimed at enhancing the SII’s manufacturing capability.
Visuals showed thick smoke rising from the building. “There were four people inside the building. We have rescued three so far though smoke is hampering the work of bringing the fire under control,” a fire officer said.