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New Delhi: US President Joe Biden has said Washington is “determined” to help India as it did to them when they were battling the Covid crisis.

“Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need,” Biden said in a tweet.

This comes after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had a phone call with his American counterpart Jake Sullivan Sunday, during which the US assured immediate supplies of specific raw materials that are needed by the Serum Institute of India (SII) to ramp up the production of Covid vaccines.

Meanwhile, US Vice President Kamala Harris stated, “ The U.S. is working closely with the Indian government to rapidly deploy additional support and supplies during an alarming COVID-19 outbreak.”

In a statement issued after National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s Call with Doval, NSC Spokesperson Emily Horne said: “The United States has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India.”

The statement also said the US is working “around the clock to deploy available resources and supplies”.

“To help treat COVID-19 patients and protect front-line 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. The United States also is pursuing options to provide oxygen generation and related supplies on an urgent basis,” the statement added.

During the phone call, the US also said 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 U.S. Embassy, India’s health ministries, and India’s Epidemic Intelligence Service staff,” it said.

USAID and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will also “fast-track the mobilization of emergency resources available to India through the Global Fund”.


Also read: Raw material shortage hits blood tests that dictate course of Covid treatment


This comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Sullivan both expressed concerns over India’s massive jump in Covid cases even as they vowed to “rapidly deploy additional support” to help India tide over this crisis.

“Our hearts go out to the Indian people in the midst of the horrific COVID-19 outbreak. We are working closely with our partners in the Indian government, and we will rapidly deploy additional support to the people of India and India’s health care heroes,” Blinken said in a tweet.

“The U.S. is deeply concerned by the severe COVID outbreak in India. We are working around the clock to deploy more supplies and support to our friends and partners in India as they bravely battle this pandemic. More very soon,” tweeted Sullivan.

India is currently reporting record Covid-19 cases even as it plans to open up vaccinations to everyone over the age of 18 years from 1 May.

The US has halted the export of raw materials critical for the production of Covid vaccines under the Defense Production Act (DPA) of 1950, which was invoked by former US President Donald Trump and now being continued by US President Joe Biden.

It was in early March that the issue was first raised by Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer, Serum Institute of India, the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer.

Poonawalla wrote to the World Health Organization (WHO) over facing difficulties owing to restrictions in the export of raw materials for Covid vaccines from the US.

The SII is also reported to be planning to apply for an expedited emergency licence for Covovax vaccine too, under the government’s revised norms if the developer Novavax secures authorisation from the US regulator.


Also read: A bacteria made Indians political. A virus will now extract a political price from Modi


 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. While the media and social media is rampant with abuses for the US Govt and President for not releasing the vaccine raw material to SII, I was advising my friends on the need to wait for an official reaction from our Govt.
    Naynima has done a good job in posting the re-assuring words of the US Govt. A word of assurance from the President JoBiden would have been more convincing. But still timely news from ThePrint puts things in perspective. Congratulations

  2. Good to know.

    I’m sure that the fact that India approved a Russian vaccine played a part in this decision. Americans are just trying to protect their market.

    • We should not take any help from outsiders. All our scriptures and 1 lakh year old civilization should have the answers to it. We have travelled to the moon and churned out Amrit from the oceans. Maybe it’s time for us to do it again. Maha Manav Modi with cow power can help with the churning. We just need to decode the scriptures.

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