PUNE (HRNW) – If the world is to gain access to a vaccine for COVID-19, there s a good chance it will pass through the doors of Serum Institute of India.
Serum Institute, the world s largest manufacturer of vaccines by volume, is working on several candidates for the novel coronavirus – including potentially mass-producing the AstraZeneca/Oxford university one that has garnered global headlines – as well as developing its own.
The efforts are partly being shepherded by Umesh Shaligram, the head of research and development. His employer is a private company but every day, shortly before midnight, he receives a WhatsApp message from the government asking for updates, and about any new hurdles he faces.
The message is usually from K. VijayRaghavan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi s top scientific adviser – an indication of the critical, and even strategically important, nature of the race to develop the vaccines the whole world is waiting for.
Shaligram promptly responds with a progress report and details any bottlenecks.