Pune (Maharashtra) [India], January 21 (ANI): The fire which started at the Serum Institute of India's (SII) Manjri plant on Thursday afternoon has been brought under control. As many as six people have been rescued from the spot and no casualties have been reported.
"Fire at the Serum Institute of India building is under control, the cooling process is underway. No casualty reported cause of the fire is still unknown," said Prashant Ranpise, Chief fire officer, Pune Municipal Corporation.
Adar Poonawalla, the Chief executive officer (CEO) of SII has expressed his gratitude for the concern shown by the people after no lives were lost due to the incident.
"Thank you, everyone, for your concern and prayers. So far the most important thing is that there've been no lives lost or major injuries due to fire, despite a few floors being destroyed," SII CEO tweeted.
"I would like to reassure all governments & the public that there would be no loss of #COVISHIELD production due to multiple production buildings that I had kept in reserve to deal with such contingencies at @SerumInstIndia. Thank you very much Pune City Police and Fire Department," Poonawalla said in another tweet.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said it seems that the fire was caused by an electric fault. "Six people have been rescued (from fire). Prima facie it seems that the fire was caused by an electric fault. The COVID vaccine is safe. I have not spoken to Adar Poonawalla till now," said Maharashtra CM.
The fire broke out at about 2:45 pm at an under-construction building where vaccine production was supposed to start after a month. The fire broke out at 4th and 5th floor of the SEZ3 building. BCG vaccine laboratory was there at 3rd floor of the same building but that is unaffected. The COVISHIELD plant is almost about 1km distance from fire incident site.
It may be noted that the country's apex drugs regulator had granted restricted emergency use permission to SII's Covishield vaccine in India.
Millions of vaccine doses are being manufactured by Serum Institute under technical collaboration with Oxford University/Astra Zeneca. It is pertinent to note that COVISHIELD (SII-ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) vaccine contains the replication-deficient simian adenovirus vector ChAdOx1, containing the structural surface glycoprotein (Spike protein) antigens of SARS-CoV-2. (ANI)