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After Serum Institute India (SII) applied for the emergency use authorisation of its coronavirus vaccine Covidhield, its CEO Adar Poonawala expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the central government for the support.

"As promised, before the end of 2020, Serum Institute of India has applied for emergency use authorisation for the first made-in-India vaccine, COVISHIELD. This will save countless lives, and I thank the Government of India and PM Narendra Modi for their invaluable support," Adar Poonawalla said in a tweet.

The SII is the first indigenous company that has sought emergency approval for the vaccine developed along with global pharma giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

A day earlier, the Indian arm of US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer became the first to seek a similar approval from India's drug regulator for its own Covid-19 vaccine in the country, after securing such clearance in the UK and Bahrain.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the company's pandemic level facility in Pune last month, SII Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Adar Poonawalla had said that he was amazed by the Prime Minister's knowledge about vaccines and vaccine production.

He had also said that indications suggest that the Central government may purchase 300-400 million doses by July 2021.

He further said the SII has already produced 40-50 million doses of the vaccine per month, and the pharma giant is planning to stretch it up to 100 million doses of the vaccine per month by February.

PM Modi had also tweeted about his visit to the Serum Institute of India facility.

"Had a good interaction with the team at Serum Institute of India. They shared details about their progress so far on how they plan to further ramp up vaccine manufacturing. Also took a look at their manufacturing facility," the Prime Minister said.

SII is conducting the phase 3 trials of AztraZennca and Oxford University's Covid-19 vaccine candidate Covishield.

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