While the world and especially India struggle to break free from the horrendous catastrophe spawned by the COVID-19 outbreak, people are breathlessly waiting for hope that can help them to cope with the darkness. If frontline healthcare staff is nothing short of a warrior, vaccines are the modern world’s true elixir in every sense of the word. Adar Poonawalla is the man behind the mass manufacturing of this elixir not just in India but soon in the UK too.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the name has been making bounds across the media and we are here to give you an insight into the Vaccine Prince of India, Adar Poonawalla.
The Vaccine Prince of India, Adar Poonawalla
Adar Poonawalla, born on 14th January 1981, is the Chief Executive Officer of Serum Institute of India which holds the record of the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer by volume. More than 60% of all the children in the world have been vaccinated with one or more of its products. The organization makes 1.5 billion doses of vaccines every year against infections like polio, diphtheria, and hepatitis B.
Adar Poonawalla got united with the Serum Institute of India in 2001, after completing graduation from the University of Westminster in London. Poonawalla focused on the organization’s global market and on getting new products authorized and pre-qualified by the World Health Organization at that point for exporting its products to 35 nations, to supply to United Nations Agencies including UNICEF and PAHO. Starting in 2015, the organization currently trades its pharmaceutical products to more than 140 nations around the world, out of which 85% of its incomes are from abroad.
Beholding the Poonawalla legacy
The industrious entrepreneur grew under the shadow of his father, Cyrus Poonawalla who is the Founder of Serum Institute of India. Son of a horse breeder from traditional Parsi family, Poonawalla went on to open India’s biggest vaccine manufacturing firm that went on to become world’s largest within decades.
However, this is not the sum total of the astute entrepreneur that Cyrus Poonawalla is. The Cyrus Poonawalla Group of Industries is actually a massive conglomerate of multiple businesses that add up to billions to the Poonawallas’ fortune. Aviation, green energy, real estate, hospitality, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and finance, you name it, and Poonawallas have it under their umbrella of the business empire.
And Adar Poonawalla is very well keeping up with the responsibilities of upholding the legacy of the family.
He established the Villoo Poonawalla Foundation in 2011, in memory of his late mother Mrs. Villoo Poonawalla, which today includes 6 schools, 1 emergency clinic, 25 water plants at various areas, 250 trucks, and sanitation and waste management initiatives. His vision is to help address the imbalance that exists in India, and all throughout the planet, in the engaged spaces of healthcare, education, water, sanitation, and the environment.
He commenced and instigated Serum Institute’s Oral Polio Vaccine in 2014, which directed a global shortage of Polio vaccines in those crucial times.
Around this time a year ago, 39-year-old Adar Poonawalla was better known for his affluent and sophisticated lifestyle and Serum Institute of India, entrenched by his father. He is married to Natasha Poonawalla, who is also a businesswoman and Executive Director of SII. Except for the medical and biotech industry, he was not really known outside it until the deadly pandemic.
Promptly after the Covid-19 monstrous flare-up, the biggest immunization producer on the planet has become a household name in India and worldwide. Back in Aug 2020, Poonawalla made an unsafe bid worth $450 million (about INR 3,300 crore) to start the production of the Oxford vaccine in India, without knowing of the future will bring in favorable results. This was prior to building one of the biggest vaccine production to fabricate the then work-in-progress AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine for Covid-19.
India’s vaccine diplomacy wouldn’t be possible without SII and Poonawallas
Vaccine advancement hazards are notable and most organizations that set out on the errand, as a rule, require at any rate five years to come out with one. The pandemic, notwithstanding, changed that, and Poonawalla’s bet has offered the world a truly necessary chance of expectation to be safe and hopeful. In recent times, SII’s Covishield got one of the first vaccines to be endorsed in quite a while and a month down the line, the nation has effectively directed more than 40 million portions.
If India is in a position of such vaccine diplomacy, a major piece of the credit ought to go to SII as it is the only Indian organization that has joined with the WHO’s COVAX office that focuses on the impartial conveyance of the Covid-19 vaccine to low-and middle-income nations who in any case need to sit tight years for an immunization drive.
India has so far donated and exported as many as 66 million doses of vaccine to the world and none of it would have been possible without Serum Institute of India.
Now Poonawalla, “has a pioneering plan” to supply the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine to a large portion of the planet around this time one year from now. Also, he intends to do as such at $3 a dose, “which scarcely takes care of expenses”. At the point when the pandemic is set in, he says, “I decided to go all out” quickly. SII received total grants worth $300 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2020.
With such massive faith that the world entrusts in Serum Institute of India, the Government of India also made sure to speed up the operations of the organization by sanctioning a budget worth $300,000 during the onset of the horrific COVID wave.
The downside of responsibilities and fame
Obviously, he has doubled his wealth in the pandemic, Poonawalla junior is evident that his essential inspiration isn’t to bring in money, but to save lives. Whatever the case, he has been applauded across Asia as one of the world’s biggest infection buster.
With this level of supremacy in the healthcare industry comes a great price of sole responsibility, pressure, security, and judgements. With the catastrophic 2nd wave of Covid-19, the cases surged as high as 400,000 in a single day in India, following the collapse of healthcare infrastructure and facilities. Likewise, Poonawalla experienced aggressive questions and calls from various VIPs and politicians about the vaccine supply.
SII’s CEO also got a Y-security from the Government of India in the wake of sensitivity of the matter. He later fled from India to the United Kingdom to avoid such risky situations.