Workers wearing protective gear walk after a fire broke out at India's Serum Institute in Pune on  21 January, 2021
Workers wearing protective gear walk after a fire broke out at India's Serum Institute in Pune on 21 January, 2021AFP

Five people died as a fire tore through a building in the world's biggest vaccine production hub in western India Thursday, officials said.

"Five people have died," Pune city mayor Murlidhar Mohol told reporters following the fire at the Serum Institute of India.

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Rescue workers discovered five bodies in the under-construction building after the blaze was brought under control, media reports said, but the company insisted its production of drugs to counter the coronavirus pandemic was not affected.

"We are deeply saddened and offer our deepest condolences to the family members of the departed," Adar Poonawalla, the firm's CEO, tweeted, without offering further details.

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