On Sunday, the Serum Institute of India announced the establishment of a center of excellence in infectious diseases and pandemic preparedness at Hyderabad, named after Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla.
The CoE, which will be located at the Indian Institute of Public Health in Hyderabad, aims to provide a centralised hub for information, resources, and support to the community during public health emergencies. With a team of experienced healthcare professionals and equipped with state-of-the-art technology and resources, the centre seeks to enhance the preparedness and response to infectious diseases and pandemics.
The establishment will function as a central point for public health education, outreach, and emergency response activities in the event of infectious disease outbreaks. It will furnish up-to-the-minute information and alerts on ongoing epidemics and deliver resources and aid to those impacted.
The Centre of Excellence in Infectious Diseases and Pandemic Preparedness was initiated during a meeting between Telangana Industry Minister K. T. Rama Rao and Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India at the World Economic Forum in Davos in May 2022. On Sunday, Rama Rao announced the establishment of the centre after a virtual meeting with Poonawalla. The new centre will play a crucial role in protecting the health of the community by providing centralised resources and expertise to ensure a quick and effective response to any public health emergency. Rama Rao welcomed the investment and the Serum Institute of India, the largest vaccine manufacturer, to Hyderabad, known as the vaccine capital of the world.
According to Adar Poonawalla, the Dr Cyrus Poonawalla Centre of Excellence for Infectious Diseases and Pandemic Preparedness will provide an array of services, which include public health education and outreach, tracking and monitoring of infectious diseases, collaboration with local healthcare providers in responding to emergencies, as well as the provision of information and support to those affected by epidemics.
Prof Srinath Reddy, of the Indian Institute of Public Health in Hyderabad, stated that the CoE will strengthen India’s ability to predict, prepare for, and manage pandemic threats, by enhancing prevention, prediction, and response capabilities.
He further added that the centre would address other infectious diseases of concern through a multi-sectoral response guided by public health principles. PHFI welcomed the initiative and said that it would place IIPH-Hyderabad at the forefront of infectious disease prevention and control.
The Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) established five institutions across the country, including the Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH-H), to strengthen health systems, improve planning and performance, and align policies and programs to public health objectives.
With over 1.5 billion doses of vaccines produced and sold globally, Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd. is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, which includes vaccines for Polio, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hib, BCG, r-Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Pneumococcal, and Covid-19.