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Lupin shuts down Indian plant after 18 workers test positive for COVID-19: report

India’s pharmaceutical manufacturing industry is no stranger to the novel coronavirus after multiple waves of infections have temporarily shut down operations at a number of drugmakers’ sites. Now, a Lupin site that produces generic asthma and diabetes meds to the U.S. is going into lockdown.

Lupin has shut down an Indian manufacturing plant in western Gujarat state after 18 workers tested positive for COVID-19, two government officials told Reuters.

The affected plant is one of 11 Lupin operates at its Ankleshwar site, which sprawls across 40 acres and employs 984 workers. All 18 workers who tested positive worked at a single plant, and new infections haven’t yet been found at any of Lupin’s other facilities, an official told Reuters.

Additional workers who came into contact with the infected employees are being tested for the coronavirus.

Lupin, the third largest pharma in the U.S. by total prescriptions, is the latest Indian manufacturer to go on lockdown due to a COVID-19 scare.

In May, Cadila Pharmaceuticals shut down its API plant in Dholka, Ahmedabad, India, after 26 employees tested positive for COVID-19, Reuters reported at the time. Cadila ordered the facility closed and required 95 of its employees be quarantined at home. The drugmaker also began sanitizing the site, Reuters said.

The shutdown at the Cadila plant came just weeks after another Indian manufacturing hub was temporarily locked down as a COVID-19 hotspot and underscores the dangers the novel coronavirus has posed for the global supply chain.

In late April, a manufacturing hub in Baddi—responsible for 35% to 40% of the nation’s pharmaceutical output—came back online after weeks on lockdown as a COVID-19 containment zone, Business Standard reported.

Some of the world’s biggest generics and API providers have factories in Baddi that were shut down partially or in full as part of the lockdown, including Sun Pharma, Abbott Laboratories and Dr. Reddy’s.

To help keep the facilities running at full capacity, the Indian government allowed a one-time movement of employees from Chandigarh state to Baddi to help staff the plants, according to Business Standard, as well as a resumption of intradistrict movement within Himachal Pradesh, where Baddi resides.