Telangana's Information Technology Minister K.T. Rama Rao on Thursday urged the Centre to reinstate the Information Technology and Investment Region (ITIR) project in Hyderabad.. Image Source: IANS News

Hyderabad, June 20 : Telangana Industries Minister K.T. Rama Rao has demanded the Central government establish a Vaccine Testing and Certification Laboratory in Hyderabad on war-footing to expedite production of Covid-19 vaccines.

He said since Hyderabad has become the global vaccine capital, it needs this facility immediately.

The state government is ready to provide required land in Hyderabad's Genome Valley for the testing centre and would also give fast track clearances for the facility, he said.

In a letter to Union Health and Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan, the state minister said 30-45 days are wasted in sending vaccines developed in Hyderabad for testing to the Central Drug Laboratory in Kasauli (Himachal Pradesh).

KTR, as the minister is popularly known, said if the Vaccine Testing Laboratory is established in Hyderabad, an additional 8 to 10 crore doses can be produced here every month.

He pointed out that the issue is pending for a long time and the state government brought this to the notice of the Centre on a number of occasions. At least now, the government should take steps to set up the facility, he said.

He said Hyderabad has become the vaccine capital of not just the country but the entire world, noting efforts were on for large-scale production of Sputnik V, Corbevax, Bharat Biotech and Johnsons & Johnson's vaccines.

He said bulk of vaccine production will happen in Hyderabad for the Central government's plans to complete about 50 per cent of vaccination from August till end of 2021. There are reports that 100 crore doses for this vaccination programme of the Central government are likely to be manufactured in Hyderabad.

KTR said lack of vaccination testing centre in such an important city of Hyderabad is creating various problems. The only vaccination testing laboratory is located in Kasauli, and companies based in Hyderabad have to send every batch to this laboratory, hundreds of kilometres away.

The vaccine batches have to be sent from Hyderabad to Delhi by aircraft and from there they have to be transported to Kasauli by road as this is the only mode of transport available. The entire testing is taking 30 to 45 days. Biotech companies in Hyderabad say that precious time is getting lost due to this.

KTR said that setting up a second vaccination testing centre in the country at Hyderabad can expedite manufacturing of vaccines.

The Centre should realise the need for setting up the testing centre in Hyderabad to produce more vaccines in the shortest time to provide required doses available for the biggest vaccination programme in history, he said.

He said if the Vaccine Testing Laboratory is established in Hyderabad, 100 crore vaccine doses can be manufactured here in six months. Keeping in view the need for a large number of doses, the facility should be set up immediately, he added.

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