Gates in Pune on vaccine hunt

Gates in Pune on vaccine hunt

Microsoft founder Bill Gates met Dr Cyrus Poonawalla,one of his favourite “vaccine heroes” at the Serum Institute

Microsoft founder Bill Gates on Thursday met Dr Cyrus Poonawalla,one of his favourite “vaccine heroes” at the Serum Institute here. “It’s great to be here and there are many new products the foundation is interested in,” said Gates,who is co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates is likely to cement ties with the institute to develop a more effective injectible polio vaccine to replace oral polio drops.

Gates also expressed interest in the HPV vaccine being developed at the institute. “There is a need for cost effective vaccines against various infectious diseases and the foundation is interested in several new products developed at the Serum Institute. I would love to see more on vaccine research,” he said.

The institute which exports to 130 nations is also developing affordable rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines for Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. The clinical trials are being funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


On Poonawalla,Gates said,“Cyrus Poonawalla is among one of the seven vaccine heroes and is a multiple winner with vaccines against measles and others. He has deeply affected the vaccine world and people are dependent on the quality work done at Serum.”

Gates and Poonawalla later met in private to discuss new products. From Pune,Gates flies to Bangalore,where he will meet Ratan Tata,Wipro’s Azim Premji and Poonawalla on June 1.

‘Govt reneged’

DR CYRUS Poonawalla,CMD of Serum Institute of India,has lashed out at the government for backing out of its commitment to pharma companies on the development of a H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine. The government had given Rs 10 crore each to three vaccine manufacturers including Serum Institute,but later asked them to return the money along with 12 per cent interest. “They did it on the basis that the vaccine should be developed in two months and it was not possible for any manufacturer to develop a good quality vaccine… in such a short period,” Poonawalla said,adding that they were planning to take the government to court.