3 min read.Updated: 25 Apr 2021, 10:41 PM IST Written By Aparna Banerjea( with inputs from Agencies )
'United States has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India,' said US NSA Jake Sullivan to NSA Ajit Doval
The United States will immediately provide raw materials for COVID-19 vaccines, medical equipment and protective gear to help India respond to a massive surge in COVID-19 infections, a White House spokeswoman said on Sunday.
"United States has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India," said US NSA Jake Sullivan to NSA Ajit Doval.
Sullivan spoke by phone today with Doval, expressing "deep sympathy" for the people of India following the recent spike in Covid-19 cases.
An official statement issued by Sullivan read, "US has identified supplies of therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators and 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 US Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is funding a substantial expansion of manufacturing capability for BioE, the vaccine manufacturer in India, enabling (Hyderabad based) 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. USAID will also quickly work with CDC to support and fast-track the mobilization of emergency resources available to India through the Global Fund," it added.
Earlier, US' top medical adviser on the pandemic says the US is actively looking at ways to boost aid to India as it grapples with surging coronavirus cases.
Dr Anthony Fauci told ABC's “This Week" that several measures are being considered, including sending over oxygen supplies, COVID-19 tests, drug treatments and personal protective equipment.
The Biden administration had 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.
Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi urged the Biden administration to release doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to countries currently experiencing the deadly surge in COVID-19 cases.
"We are currently sitting on close to 40 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the US stockpile, a stockpile which we’re not using and which we’ve already opened to combat COVID-19 in Mexico and Canada," he said, reported news agency PTI.
To curb the spread of this virus internationally and to protect public health and the international economy, the US needs to get these vaccines out the door now, he said.
"I respectfully but strongly call on the Biden administration to release millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses to countries hardest hit by the spread of COVID-19, including India, Argentina, and potentially others, he added.
Meanwhile, 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.
Earlier in the day, expressing solidarity with the people of India amid the record surge in COVID-19 cases, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that they are preparing a "mission to support" to aid India's fight against the pandemic.
Merkel's show of support comes days after her criticism of the slowdown of vaccine exports from India against the backdrop of a record spike in coronavirus infections in the country.
Earlier today, the European Union (EU) has said it will do its utmost to support India, amid a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths in the country which has led to a shortage of hospital beds and medical-grade oxygen in some parts of the country.
"The EU together with its member states will do its utmost to support India in this difficult moment," said Ugo Astuto, Ambassador of the European Union to India and Bhutan.
Janez Lenarcic, the European Emergency Response Coordinator today informed that the EU has activated its Civil Protection Mechanism to help India with the COVID-19 crisis.
More than 600 pieces of vital medical equipment will be sent to India to support the country in its fight against COVID-19, the British High Commission (BHC) announced on Sunday.
A BHC release informed that the assistance package, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, includes ventilators and oxygen concentrators from surplus stocks.
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