A massive fire in a building at the Serum Institute of India’s Pune campus broke out on Thursday. Serum Institute, for the unaware, is the maker of the Covishield vaccine in India Covishield was recently approved by the Indian government for vaccination purposes.
The building that caught the fire, however, was under construction and thus the production and supply of the Covishield vaccine wouldn’t be affected, said media reports. SII makes the Covishield vaccine in partnership with the Oxford University and British-Swedish pharma firm AstraZeneca.
The Serum Institute of India, which prides itself as “the world’s largest vaccine maker”, has a facility spread over 100 acres. Manjari, the complex where the fire broke out, is a few minutes away from the production facility. The capacity at the campus is being enhanced with 8-9 buildings under construction in an attempt to deal with future pandemics if any.
“There were four people inside the building.. We have rescued three so far although large smoke is hampering the work of bringing the fire in control,” a fire officer said.
SII, besides providing the vaccine to the Indians, has also begun exporting the same to the neighboring countries including Nepal, Maldives and more.
Meanwhile, how the fire broke out in the building is yet not clear. It may, however, be linked to the massive construction taking place at the site.
Hours after the fire was controlled, it was revealed by the police that as many as five people have died due to the fire. CEO and owner with SII, Adar Poonawalla, took on Twitter to share a message.
“We are deeply saddened and offer our deepest condolences to the family members of the departed,” wrote Poonawalla.