US to send raw materials to India for Covishield vaccine
The Biden administration is working round the clock to provide urgent assistance to India in its fight against the deadly COVID-19, including identification and immediate availability of sources for raw materials urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine, the White House said on Sunday.
The decision by the US came following a telephonic conversation between US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.
Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need, Emily Horne, spokesperson of the National Security Council of White House, said after the phone call between Sullivan and Doval.
The Biden administration has come under criticism from several quarters, including from members and supporters of the Democratic party, for not releasing surplus COVID-19 vaccines to India when the country is experiencing its worst-ever public health crisis.
India has urged the US to supply the raw materials for the manufacturing of the Covishield vaccine.
Expressing deep sympathy for the people of India following the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, Sullivan in the phone call affirmed America's solidarity with India, the two countries with the greatest number of COVID-19 cases in the world.
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Building on the seven-decade health partnership between the United States and India including battles against smallpox, polio, and HIV, they resolved that India and the United States will continue to fight the global COVID-19 pandemic together, Horne said.
Observing that the United States is working around the clock to deploy available resources and supplies, Horne said that the US has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India.
To help treat COVID-19 patients and protect frontline health workers in India, the United States has identified supplies of therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that will immediately be made available for India.
Horne said the US also is pursuing options to provide oxygen generation and related supplies on an urgent basis.
The US Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is funding a substantial expansion of manufacturing capability for BioE, the vaccine manufacturer in India, enabling BioE to ramp up to produce at least 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.
Additionally, the United States is deploying an expert team of public health advisors from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and USAID to work in close collaboration with the US Embassy, India's health ministries, and India's Epidemic Intelligence Service staff. USAID will also quickly work with CDC to support and fast-track the mobilisation of emergency resources available to India through the Global Fund, she said.
India logged a record of 3,49,691 new coronavirus infections in a day on Sunday, taking its total tally of COVID-19 cases to 1,69,60,172.
The death toll increased to 1,92,311 with a record 2,767 daily new fatalities, according to the official data.