From his baronial boardroom in Pune, Adar Poonawalla can search out on the correctly manicured turf of India’s biggest stud farm. Around the a long time, the family’s racehorses have received the Indian Derby ten occasions. These days, even so, the thoroughbreds gambolling throughout the paddock beneath his window may be the final detail on his thoughts.

As the entire world gears up for a race to vaccinate billions of people in opposition to Covid-19, the 40-yr-old scion of India’s Poonawalla prescription drugs dynasty has emerged as a critical player. As chief govt of Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s most significant vaccine manufacturer by volume, Poonawalla’s factory 70 miles exterior Mumbai has been jogging at comprehensive tilt, scrambling to produce 50m doses for each month of the AstraZeneca/College of Oxford vaccine which it is hoped will help bring the killer virus less than control.

Symptoms of the pressures experiencing the corporation drew into emphasis on Thursday when a fireplace broke out at the web page in a setting up that was less than design, reportedly causing five deaths. “We are deeply saddened and present our deepest condolences to the loved ones associates of the departed,” Poonawalla explained in a tweet.

While the trigger of the blaze stays uncertain and creation was unaffected, the tragedy has fuelled the growing impression that SII is at the centre of an unfolding world drama.

Even ahead of the fireplace, the strains were being obvious. Poonawalla says: “Everyone has labored tirelessly for months on end… The serious obstacle now is rolling it out to all the international locations around the globe but also balancing our commitments domestically and being familiar with what my govt [India] would like us to do. It is a great stability.”