Blaze at facility of world's biggest vaccine maker kills 5 people

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Workers are seen after a fire broke out at India's Serum Institute in Pune on January 21. AFP/Getty Images

(CNN) - A fire broke out at facility for the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s biggest vaccine maker, in the city of Pune on Thursday.

Murlidhar Mohol, mayor of the western Indian city, told reporters that five bodies, believed to be those of construction workers, were retrieved from the six-floor building, while four people were rescued.

The blaze, which is now under control, will not impact production of the Covid vaccine, the company says.

SII is in partnership with Oxford University and AstraZeneca to produce the Covishield vaccine.

I would like to reassure all governments & the public that there would be no loss of #COVISHIELD production due to multiple production buildings that I had kept in reserve to deal with such contingencies at @SerumInstIndia," the company’s CEO Adar Poonawalla tweeted.

In a separate post, Poonawalla tweeted, “We are deeply saddened and offer our deepest condolences to the family members of the departed.”

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined though, according to Mohol, preliminary investigations suggest that “during the building’s construction, some welding work could have led to the fire.”

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