A smoke rises from fire at Serum Institute of India in Pune, India January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer(REUTERS)
A smoke rises from fire at Serum Institute of India in Pune, India January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer(REUTERS)

BCG, Rotavirus vaccine production to be hit after fire at Pune's Serum institute facility

In a statement issued earlier, SII officials had said the fire would impact the production of BCG and Rotavirus vaccines in future.
Written by Prashasti Singh, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 06:22 PM IST

The fire that broke out at Pune's Serum Institute of India (SII) on Thursday and killed five people will not have an impact on the supply of Covid-19 vaccine, company CEO Adar Poonawalla said.

"The supply of Covid-19 will not be affected due to the fire. No actual vaccine was being made at that facility. The extent of the damage is more than 1,000 crore," he said.

However, the production of BCG and Rotavirus vaccines will be affected in future, SII officials had said in a statement issued earlier.

The impact will be a result of the financial losses suffered after the fire at an under-installation building of the SII plant at Manjari, officials of the pharmaceuticals company said.

Also Read: Maharashtra orders probe into SII fire that killed 5; Covid vaccine plant safe

According to state health minister Rajesh Tope, the fire was caused by welding sparks. “Rotavirus plant installation was going on when welding sparks caused the fire due to highly inflammable material present at the spot. It took the local administration three hours to douse the fire completely. They have also recovered five bodies. Police investigation is on and a fire audit of the building will also be conducted,” Tope said.

Meanwhile, Ajit Pawar, deputy chief minister of Maharashtra and Pune guardian minister, said an expert panel will determine the cause of the fire. “An audit will be conducted to see if the structure, which is a special economic zone (SEZ), had all the required facilities in place. A team of experts will also determine the cause. A further probe will be launched if anything is found amiss in the audit,” said Pawar.

Also Read: Fire at Serum Institute’s Manjri plant in Pune; 10 fire tenders at the spot

Along with the Pune police, a team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and a private team of Amanora group were also involved in the rescue process. The fire was doused off in around three hours and six people were rescued from inside the building.

A payment of Rs25 lakh along with the other procedural ex-gratiawas announced for the bereaved families of the labourers by SII. The state, however, has not made any ex-gratia-related announcement. 

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