Behind the Scenes of the World's Largest Vaccine Manufacturer, the Serum Institute, India
Pune (India) (AFP) - The jingling of tiny vials, controlled by silent technicians in protective gear, contrasts with the hustle and bustle at the site of the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, the Serum Institute in India .
Founded in 1966 in Pune (west), Serum Institute of India (SII) produces at high speed millions of doses of the vaccine against the Covid-19 Covishield, developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, for India and a much of the developing world.
Unlike its competitor Pfizer-BioNTech - which requires super-freezers to be stored - Covishield can be stored at standard temperatures, and it is also cheaper than vaccines from Pfizer or the American Moderna, which makes it more accessible for poor countries with rudimentary infrastructure.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, Serum Institute of India was already producing 1.5 billion doses of vaccines against polio, mumps, meningitis and measles, which benefited two out of three children in more than 170 countries.
The adventure began in a stud farm, where the Poonawalla family - owners of the company - had started to breed horses in 1946.
Before a discussion with a veterinarian changed everything: the owners, on this occasion, realized that an anti-toxin serum extracted from their animals could be used to make vaccines.
The Serum Institute is rapidly dominating the market, with its effective and inexpensive drugs, much sought after by governments and price-conscious consumers, prompting the company to grow at a breakneck pace.
Its 40-year CEO, Adar Poonawalla, has spent nearly $ 1 billion in recent years expanding and improving the vast Pune complex.
Posted Date: 2021-01-28