In a letter to the Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, Rao said that there is an urgency to set up a second testing facility, and Hyderabad is an ideal location to host such a facility, as the city has a large number of vaccine manufacturers.
Asserting that Hyderabad has emerged as the vaccination capital of the world by producing one-third of the global vaccine, he pointed out that COVID-19 vaccine - Covaxin - was developed and is being manufactured in Hyderabad.
“The testing of each batch of vaccine produced in the country is being carried out only in the Central Drug Laboratory, Kasauli. And for the entire process of sending the vaccination batch from Hyderabad to Kasauli takes approximately 30-45 days, which is time-consuming, and cost-intensive,” said the minister.
Over the next few months, a significant amount of Covid vaccines will be produced in Hyderabad, Rao said, adding that the official reports and projections of the Government of India state that almost 50 per cent of the total COVID vaccine supply between August and December 2021 will be from Hyderabad.
“For the projected capacity of a billion doses in Hyderabad between August to December 2021, having a testing centre in Hyderabad could result in accelerated throughput of about 8-10 crore additional vaccine doses per month in the country's overall supply,” he said.
Highlighting the experts' predictions on the third wave of COVID-19 in India between September - December 2021, Rao said, “Vaccines are the only solution for this fight against COVID, and hence increasing the rate of vaccination is even more critical.”
The minister assured that the Telangana Government will provide its complete support in establishing the facility on a fast track mode.
“The testing centre could be established in an existing set up like the National Animal Resource Facility for Biomedical Research, Central Drug Testing Laboratory Hyderabad to address the immediate requirement while a state-of-the-art full-fledged facility can be built in parallel to cater to testing requirements on a long term to ensure uninterrupted national and global supply of vaccines,” he said.