US says will send raw material urgently required to manufacture Covishield vaccine in India


The US said on Sunday it will “immediately” provide India with the raw material needed to make the Covishield vaccine and supply protective gears, PPE kits, testing kits to help treat Covid-19 patients and protect frontline workers as the country battles a massive surge in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases and deaths. Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor, said the US is also deploying more supplies and resources to aid India, according to a statement.

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“Spoke today with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval about the spike in COVID cases in India and we agreed to stay in close touch in the coming days. The United States stands in solidarity with the people of India and we are deploying more supplies and resources,” Sullivan also tweeted on Sunday.

Recognising India’s assistance towards the US during the beginning of the pandemic, Sullivan said the United States is determined to help India in its time of need. “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,” the statement said.

The US is pursuing other options to provide oxygen generations and other supplies on urgent basis, as per the statement. “The US has identified supplies of therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators & PPE that will immediately be made available for India. US is also pursuing options to provide oxygen generation & related supplies on an urgent basis,” it added.

The pledge to help came after the European Union (EU) and Germany too said they were mobilising aid to support India and the UK announced it was sending more than 600 pieces of medical equipment, including ventilators and oxygen concentrator devices, from its surplus stocks. Canada, Iran and Pakistan have also promised to supply equipment and medical supplies to help India tackle the crisis caused by a second wave of the pandemic.

Amid the massive surge in Covid-19 cases, Serum Institute of India’s CEO Adar Poonawalla last week urged the US to lift the embargo on raw material exports to boost vaccine production in the country.

The US also said that the Development Finance Corporation is funding the substantial expansion of manufacturing capability for BioE, the vaccine manufacturer in India. The funding is aimed at increasing the production capacity of the vaccine in India to at least 1 billion doses by the end of 2022.

Additionally, the USAID will also quickly work with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support and fast-track the mobilization of emergency resources available to India through Global Fund. “The United States is also deploying an expert team of public health advisors from Center for Disease Control (CDC) & USAID to work in close collaboration with US Embassy, India’s health ministries & its Epidemic Intelligence Service staff,” the statement read.

India on Sunday reported a record number of nearly 350,000 fresh Covid-19 infections and more than 2700 deaths in the last 24 hours.

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