Hyderabad: Information Technology Minister K.T. Rama Rao visited the Genome Valley premises on Tuesday to meet the leadership team of Bharat Biotech and Biological E to examine the status of vaccine development for COVID-19 and assure the state government’s support to ongoing efforts by the companies to develop the vaccine.
The primary objective of the visit was to elicit the challenges faced by the companies in the vaccine development and the support required from the Government of Telangana and Government of India.
A panel discussion on “The Vaccine Race: Balancing Science and Urgency” was also organised and moderated by the Minister himself.
The delegation was led by Minister KTR and Shakthi Nagappan, Director (Life Sciences & Pharma) and Chief Executive Officer, Hyderabad Pharma City.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister KTR said, “as we all have witnessed in the current pandemic situation, the life sciences sector has emerged as the key sector and the vaccine industry is the biggest ray of hope. And the world is once again looking up to us to provide a solution. It is said time and again that India’s vaccine sector will play a critical role in developing and producing vaccine at scale for distribution across the world.
Hyderabad’s importance in the global vaccine landscape is only growing. We are really proud that Bharat Biotech has been the first in the Country to develop indigenous vaccine against novel coronavirus, which is currently undergoing trials.
Furthermore, I am happy to note that Biological E has joined the pursuit to develop COVID-19 vaccine and have made significant progress in this direction.
The minister added that being the vaccine capital of the world, it is the responsibility of the state of Telangana to enable the development of vaccination against COVID-19. We are committed to play an enabling role in global vaccination efforts against COVID-19.”
Dr. Krishna M. Ella, Chairman & Managing Director, Bharat Biotech International Limited said, “We thank the visionary leadership of Shri KTR garu, in supporting the vaccines industry with bold initiatives and enabling new pharmaceutical industries in Telangana State. We humbly request the honourable minister to announce procurement strategies for COVID19 vaccines, when they become available”.
Mahima Datla, Managing Director, Biological E. Limited said, “We thank our Hon. Minister, K T Rama Rao garu, who has so graciously taken time out of his busy schedule to visit our facility and interact with the employees lauding their efforts against COVID and motivating them further to put their best foot forward.
His commitment to industries and pharmaceutical companies in particular needs no special mention. And thanks to his support and the Telangana government’s unwavering commitment to promote the life sciences industry in Telangana, we and our colleagues in Hyderabad are on the verge of commercializing a vaccine which would protect not just our country but the entire globe against the current pandemic.
We would further like to thank him for giving us this platform to highlight and discuss the concerns faced by the companies in vaccine development. Biological E also stands by the philosophy that no person gets left behind irrespective of their country or financial status and that the vaccines we manufacture be made accessible in an equitable fashion.”
The panel discussion on “The Vaccine Race: Balancing Science and Urgency” witnessed participation from the experts in the field of vaccine development: Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organisation, Dr. Krishna Ella, CMD, Bharat Biotech International Limited, Ms. Mahima Datla, Managing Director, Biological E and Dr. Anand Kumar, Managing Director, Indian Immunologicals Limited. Hon. Minister, Mr. K.T Rama Rao while moderating the panel discussion, enquired about the stage of vaccine development in India, distribution of vaccines once developed, and the support needed from the state and the central government to facilitate the entire process.
Dr. Soumya Swaminathan stated that the COVID-19 has established itself and hence a comprehensive package should be put in place to increase the testing and ensure the necessary healthcare infrastructure.
Dr. Krishna Ella said that the clearance process for the vaccine development should be de-centralised and regional offices of regulatory bodies should be created in the states.
Ms. Mahima Datla said that the funding for vaccine development is extremely fragmented and we need to address this issue as this will have a long-term impact for the vaccine development in India.
Dr. Anand Kumar said that all the organisations working for the vaccine development of COVID-19 in India should come together and collaborate to ensure the timely development of vaccines in India.
Minister KTR thanked all the dignitaries for attending the panel discussion and committed that the government of Telangana will appeal to the Government of India regarding the much-needed funding support and decentralisation of regulatory reforms. (INN)