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Adar Poonawalla of Serum Institute among 6 named 'Asians of the Year' by Singapore daily

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Singapore, Dec 05: Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive of the world's largest vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India, is among six people named "Asians of the Year" by Singapore's leading daily, The Straits Times for their work in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Poonawalla

une-based Serum Institute of India (SII) has collaborated with the University of Oxford and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for making the COVID-19 vaccine, ''Covidshield'', and is conducting trials in India.

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The other five named in the list are Chinese researcher Zhang Yongzhen, who led the team that mapped and published online the first complete genome of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that sparked the pandemic, China's Major-General Chen Wei, Japan's Dr Ryuichi Morishita and Singapore's Professor Ooi Eng Eong, who are among those at the forefront of developing vaccines against the virus, and South Korean businessman Seo Jung-jin whose company will enable the making and dispensing of the vaccines and other COVID-19 treatments to the world.

Collectively referred to as "the virus busters", they are heroes of a kind, having devoted themselves to the pressing cause of resolving the coronavirus pandemic, each in their own capacity, the daily said. "Sars-CoV-2, the virus that has brought death and hardship to the world's largest and most populous continent, is meeting its tamer in The Virus Busters," the award citation said.

"We salute your courage, care, commitment and creativity. In this peril-filled hour, you are a symbol of hope for Asia, indeed the world." The Serum Institute was founded by Poonawalla's father Cyrus Poonawalla in 1966.

Poonawalla joined the Serum Institute of India in 2001 and became the CEO of Serum Institute with complete control of the day-to-day operations of the company in 2011. Poonawalla said that he has put USD 250 million of his family fortune into ramping up his institute's manufacturing capacity. "I decided to go all out," said Poonawalla, who has pledged that his firm's COVID-19 vaccines will help supply lower- and middle-income countries that face significant disadvantages in the quest to obtain them.

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    Poonawalla said his institute is helping poorer countries level up in access to vaccines. In the big picture of ending the pandemic, commonality of purpose is key, said The Straits Times, Singapore's mainstream daily. The Straits Times Asians of the Year have led the way, as have scores of other individuals in their own fields.

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