PM Narendra Modi to visit Zydus Cadila facility

Covid-19 vaccine: PM Narendra Modi to visit Zydus Cadila facility in Ahmedabad

The PM is most likely to announce a "significant development" on the vaccine's progress

PM Narendra Modi. Credit: Reuters file photo.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit "Zydus Biotech Park" of pharma company Zydus Cadila on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on Saturday morning to review the status of the Covid-19 vaccine being developed by the firm.

Although the sudden visit was not officially announced till Thursday late evening, a legion of police personnel has been deployed in and around the facility.

Sources said that the prime minister is most likely to announce a "significant development" on the vaccine's progress.

Zydus Cadila is developing its Covid-19 vaccine candidate "ZyCoV-D" at Vaccine Technology Centre, located at its Changodar park.

Senior government officers said they "speculate" the visit to focus only on the vaccine.

Sources said Modi will fly to Pune to review the status of Oxford University's vaccine AstraZeneca at Serum Institute of India after his Ahmedabad visit.

"There is another possibility which is slightly remote that there may be talks of production of a vaccine developed by another firm indigenously whose human trial has just begun," said a source in the know of the development.

Despite repeated attempts, Zydus Cadila chairman Pankaj R Patel didn't respond to calls for information.

Officials said that Modi is expected to arrive at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel airport in the city at around 9 am and head for Changodar in a helicopter.

The officials on Thursday evening decided to turn an open plot near Bhagyoday hotel into a helipad for the prime minister to land.

"According to the tentative plan, he is expected to stay at the facility for an hour before heading back to the airport," said a top police officer.

Meanwhile, the civil hospital in Sola enrolled five volunteers for its trial of "Covaxin" developed by Bharat Biotech for human trials.

The hospital has received a consignment of 500 vaccines which will be tried on healthy youth to check its effectiveness. The hospital is targetting 1,000 volunteers for trial.