Updated: May 23, 2021 12:17:59 am
Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd, Pimpri, an ailing public sector unit, has sought permission from the central government to produce a Covid-19 vaccine. While the PSU is awaiting a response from the government, Shiv Sena leader and Maval MP Shrirang Barne said HA is likely to get a green signal for manufacturing the vaccine as well as Remdesivir by July-August.
“It is true that we have sought permission from the central government to manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine,” a spokesperson for HA told The Indian Express on Saturday.
As for which vaccine would be produced at HA, the government will take a decision in this regard, said the spokesperson. Currently, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech are manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines in India.
The HA spokesperson said the company currently manufactures dry powder injectables. “We will have to produce wet power injectables if we are allowed to produce the vaccine. We have made preliminary changes and once permission is given, we can install the required machinery for Covid-19 vaccine,” he said.
Sena MP Barne said he has already written a letter to Union Chemical and Fertiliser Minister D V Sadananda Gowda and Union Health Minister Harsh Vandhan, urging them to given permission to HA to manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine and Remdesivir injections. “I have also spoke to Gowda on the phone. He sounded positive and said the government will give permission by July-August,” he said.
Barne said HA was the first penicillin factory in the country. “HA had been declared a sick unit but it has been on the revival path. Some time ago, the Centre had given Rs 400 crore as part of its revival package. During the pandemic, HA has produced PPE kits and sanitisers worth Rs 100 crore,” he said.
Barne said in Pune, both PMC and PCMC are struggling to get adequate stock of vaccines and similar is the fate of the entire district. “If HA had been given permission earlier to produce a vaccine earlier, cases and deaths would have drastically come down…,” he said.
He said the government should also give permission to HA for manufacturing Remdesivir. “The entire district has been facing shortage of the life-saving drug. HA has the capability to produce Remdesivir. I hope along with manufacturing vaccines, HA will also get permission for Remdesivir production,” he said.
BJP corporator Sandeep Waghere has also written a letter to the PCMC administration, urging it to provide financial assistance to HA so that it can install machinery needed for manufacturing vaccines. “The PCMC can provide financial assistance to HA and in turn, HA can provide vaccines at cheaper rate to Pimpri-Chinchwad… which will thus get vaccinated in a shorter period,” he said.
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