How an Indian horse racing dynasty became pivotal in the race to vaccinate the world

From his baronial boardroom in Pune, Adar Poonawalla can look out upon the perfectly manicured turf of India’s biggest stud farm. Over the years, the family’s racehorses have won the Indian Derby 10 times. These days, however, the thoroughbreds gambolling across the paddock beneath his window may be the last thing on his mind.

As the world gears up for a race to vaccinate billions of people against Covid-19, the 40-year-old scion of India’s Poonawalla pharmaceuticals dynasty has emerged as a key player. As chief executive of Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, Poonawalla’s factory 70 miles outside Mumbai has been running at full tilt, scrambling to produce 50m doses per month of the AstraZeneca/University of Oxford vaccine which it is hoped will help bring the killer virus under control.

Signs of the pressures facing the company drew into focus on Thursday when a fire broke out at the site in a building that was under construction, reportedly causing five deaths. “We are deeply saddened and offer our deepest condolences to the family members of the departed,” Poonawalla said in a tweet.

Although the cause of the blaze remains uncertain and production was unaffected, the tragedy has fuelled the growing impression that SII is at the centre of an unfolding global drama.

Even before the fire, the strains were evident. Poonawalla says: “Everyone has worked tirelessly for months on end… The real challenge now is rolling it out to all the countries worldwide but also balancing our commitments domestically and understanding what my government [India] wants us to do. It’s a fine balance.”

Source Article

Next Post

Olympic Athlete Speaks of Assault and Breaks a Bigger Silence in Greece

Sat Jan 23 , 2021
Many victims do not speak out, Ms. Sakellaropoulou said on Monday after meeting Ms. Bekatorou, “because they know that in the best-case scenario they will face pity or mistrust and in the worst case contempt, derision, even social stigma.” While incidents are rarely reported, studies suggest that sexual harassment in […]

You May Like