A huge fire breaks out at the Indian vaccine manufacturer COVID-19

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A major fire broke out on Thursday in the sprawling complex of the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.

Images from Reuters partner ANI showed smoke rising from a building in SII’s massive complex in the western city of Pune in the southern state of Maharashtra.

“Thank you everyone for your concern and your prayers.” Adar Poonawalla, CEO of SII, said on Twitter. “So far, the most important thing is that the fire did not result in loss of life or serious injury, even though some floors were destroyed.”

In a later tweet he added, “I want to reassure all governments and the public that there would be no loss of #COCISHIELD production due to multiple production buildings that I reserved at @SerumInstIndia for such eventualities.”

Employees are leaving the company on January 21, 2021 when smoke rises from a fire at the Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer.
On January 21, 2021, employees will leave the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.
Rafiq Maqbool / AP

The company produces approximately 50 million doses a month of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca at other facilities in the complex.

Officials said at least five fire trucks had been sent to fight the fire in what Reuters said was a “vaccine facility under construction”.

On January 21, 2021, smoke is rising from the Serum Institute in Prune, India, the manufacturer that makes AstraZeneca / Oxford University's COVID-19 vaccine.
On January 21, 2021, smoke is rising from the Serum Institute in Prune, India, the manufacturer that makes AstraZeneca / Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Rafiq Maqbool / AP

No injuries were reported and there was no immediate word about the cause of the fire.

Poonawalla told The Associated Press last month that SII hopes to increase production capacity from 1.5 billion cans to 2.5 billion cans per year by the end of 2021.

The Serum Institute of India manufactures approximately 50 million doses per month of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.
The Serum Institute of India manufactures approximately 50 million doses per month of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.
Rafiq Maqbool / AP

Of the more than 12 billion cans expected to be produced this year, rich countries have already bought 9 billion, and many have the opportunity to buy even more.



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