U.S. to give India raw materials for vaccines, medical supplies to fight Covid

Medical workers in protective equipment (PPE) stand on alert in front of the Covid-19 station at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital on April 22, 2021 in New Delhi, India.

Sonu Mehta | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – The Biden government announced that it will immediately provide the raw materials needed to manufacture coronavirus vaccines in India as the country works to counter the rise in Covid-19 infections.

In the past few weeks, India has been grappling with a staggering surge in new coronavirus infections. Over the weekend, India set another world record for daily cases, bringing the country’s cumulative total to 16,960,172 cases, according to Johns Hopkins.

“Just as India sent aid to the United States because our hospitals were congested at the start of the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its need,” said Emily Horne, spokeswoman for the National Security Council, in a statement on Sunday.

Horne added that the United States would send raw materials to India to make the Covishield vaccine, as well as therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators and protective equipment.

“The US Development Finance Corporation is funding a significant expansion of manufacturing capacity for BioE, the vaccine maker in India, so that BioE can produce at least 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of 2022,” Horne wrote. The US would also send a team of public health advisors from the Center for Disease Control and USAID to India.

The announcement follows a Sunday call between Biden National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Sullivan “reiterated America’s solidarity with India, the two countries with the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world,” read an ad on the appeal.

The US response comes after the UK, France and Germany pledged aid to India over the weekend.

On Sunday, Biden wrote on Twitter that his government was “determined to help India in its need”.

Last week, when the United States administered a new record of 200 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine, Biden told reporters that his government was looking for more ways to help internationally.

“We’re looking at what will happen to some of the vaccines we don’t use. We’re going to make sure they can be shipped safely,” Biden said on April 21.

“We don’t have enough confidence to send it abroad now. But I assume we can do it,” he added.

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