Hyderabad: Over 60 foreign envoys on Wednesday visited Hyderabad-based leading biotech companies Bharat Biotech and Biological E Limited, and were briefed about India’s indigenous efforts to develop COVID-19 vaccines including ongoing clinical trials as well as manufacturing capacity.
Australian High Commissioner Barry O’Farrell, who was part of the visiting delegation, called the pharmaceutical research and manufacturing as “impressive”.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the envoys were briefed about India’s research and development facilities, manufacturing capacity and foreign collaborations in the fields of pharmaceuticals, including vaccine production.
“The group visited the research and manufacturing facilities of the leading biotechnology companies, Bharat Biotech and Biological E. The participants were briefed on India’s indigenous efforts to develop COVID-19 vaccines, including ongoing clinical trial,” it said in a statement.
It said as the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, India will contribute significantly to global efforts for producing COVID-19 vaccines.
“India is committed to partnering with all interested countries in vaccine-related efforts, in the service of humanity,” the MEA said.
The tour was organized by the MEA in cooperation with the Department of Bio-Technology (DBT) and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).
A Telangana government press release said envoys of 64 countries visited the facilities.
Biological E Limited in a separate press release said around 70 Ambassadors and High Commissioners visited their facility at Genome Valley here and extensively discussed about Covaxin, a vaccine candidate for COVID-19.
The project update on the vaccine was presented by Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech.
In the presentation, the envoys were informed that 33 per cent of global vaccines are produced in genome valley in Hyderabad, according to sources.
Suchitra Ella, Joint Managing Director of Bharat Biotech said, “the development and clinical evaluation of Covaxin marks a significant milestone for novel vaccinology in India.
Asserting that Covaxin has garnered interest from several countries worldwide for supplies and introduction, she said,”it is an honour to have with us to day all the distinguished ambassadors of various countries. It not only makes us proud but also reminds us that the world is looking up to India in the common fight against the deadly pandemic.”
In his reaction, the Australian High Commissioner said it was great to learn about the progress in the vaccine development efforts by the two biotech firms.
“Great to join MEA on a visit to Hyderabad to learn firsthand about progress of COVID vaccine efforts by Bharat Biotech & Biological E,” he tweeted.
“Hyderabad – the vaccine hub of Flag of India – produces a third of all vaccines manufactured globally. Witnessed first-hand the impressive research & manufacturing facilities at @BharatBiotech & biological_e and the progress India is making in its COVID vaccine efforts…,” he said in another tweet.
The visit was organized to familiarise the foreign envoys about some key research and development activities being done by the country.
The state government made foolproof arrangements duly following all the COVID-19 protocols, and these dignitaries were divided into two batches and were taken to the facilities separately, officials said.
Telangana Principal Secretary Industries and IT Jayesh Ranjan made a powerpoint presentation and showcased the investment potential of the state to the visiting dignitaries.
The foreign envoys were taken to Hyderabad over a month after the MEA briefed over 190 heads of diplomatic missions and representatives of leading international organizations on COVID-19 related issues.
According to officials, the tour of the foreign heads of missions in India was organized as part of MEA’s COVID-19 briefing initiative, and will be followed by visits to facilities in other cities.
As a number of COVID-19 vaccines are being developed, the focus is also now on the production.