HYDERABAD: Amid the stark demand for Covid-19 vaccines in the country and Hyderabad being home to Bharat Biotech - one of the vaccine manufacturers, Minister for Industries in Telangana, KT Rama Rao, has for third time in a row has formally requested the Modi government to establish a vaccine testing and certification laboratory in the Telangana capital, on the lines of National Control Laboratory for testing of Immunobiologicals(vaccines and antisera) at Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh.
Rama Rao shot off a letter to the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan, requesting him to establish the center here in Hyderabad, on a war footing.
He pointed out that Hyderabad has emerged as the vaccination capital of the world, as one-third of global vaccine supply is produced here.
The Telangana Minister had raised this issue as long as last year in August and after that earlier in January this year, he had written a similar letter to the Union Health Minister.
Rama Rao said that the testing center could be established in an existing set up like the National Animal Resource Facility for Biomedical Research, Genome Valley or the Central Drug Testing Laboratory, Hyderabad to address the immediate requirement while a state-of-the-art full-fledged facility can be built in parallel.
Rama Rao said “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".
He further said, “Over the next few months, a significant amount of covid vaccines will be produced in Hyderabad" and added that the official reports and projections of the Government of India state that almost 50 percent of the total covid vaccine supply between August and December 2021 will be from Hyderabad.
Rama Rao further said in his letter, “For the projected capacity of a billion doses in Hyderabad between August to December 2021, having a testing center in Hyderabad could result in accelerated throughput of about 8-10 crore additional vaccine doses per month in the country's overall supply".
Rama Rao also mentioned that the experts predict a 'third wave' of Covid-19 in India between September - December 2021, pointing out that vaccination is the only solution in this fight against the disease.
He also promised complete support in establishing the vaccine certification and testing facility on a fast track mode.