Pune, February 14: Padma Bhushan-awardee and industrialist Cyrus Poonawala on Monday said Serum Institute of India (SI) provided COVID-19 vaccine at “the cost of a cup of tea” and saved nearly two-thirds infant population in the world.
Poonawala was felicitated at the inaugural session of the Pune International Business Summit organised by the Mahratta Chamber Of Commerce.
Speaking at the occasion, Poonawalla said when he started a small institute in Pune and was unaware that it would become a vaccine giant. COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs: Dr Narendra Kumar Arora, Chairman of COVID-19 Working Group NTAGI, Answers Frequently Asked Questions.
“I grew up in Pune and also established Serum, which had a big name at that time. With a small industry that I set up in the small corner of Hadapsar, little did I know at that time that with the help of my scientists and associates, the company would grow into a vaccine giant and becomes the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world by the number of doses. It is not the money that we have made, nearly two-thirds of the world’s infant population has been protected by one or more of Serum vaccines.”
“Most of our vaccines have been used by poorer nations, UNICEF and other philanthropic organisations, who came forward to buy vaccines which I provided with help of my staff and scientists to make it affordable at a price of a cup of tea. And, this has made the world self-sufficient for most of the communicable vaccines required to protect the children and adults where it is required,” he said. He further said that SII used the same template for Covishield.
“The main crux of the matter is that the same templet we applied, low cost, high production, and we were able to make 90 per cent of India’s requirement of COVID vaccines. All over the world, they are surprised how a company in India has been able to provide vaccines to protect the rest of the countries. not only Africa but 170 countries worldwide use SII vaccines,” said Poonawala.
He also informed that the big secret of Serum Institute’s success is that in most developing countries no vaccine was available and is not available even today and, therefore, people would have died. “Experts from the world over have estimated that around 30 million children’s lives have been saved because we have provided vaccines at affordable price.”
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