India has earned a reputation as the “pharmacy of the world”. With six vaccine candidates in different stages of the trial, India is poised to launch its vaccine diplomacy with even the second largest number of COVID-19 cases.
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China, which led the vaccine development race, was left behind due to controversies surrounding CoronaVac, as it reportedly doesn’t have the same efficacy rate as those developed by US Pfizer and UK AstraZeneca.
Beijing had started courting ASEAN countries along with Brazil to increase its flu with the COVID-19 vaccine. But it failed miserably as ASEAN nations like Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia moved forward to procure vaccines from the US and UK.
China does not appear to have confidence in its vaccine as it will purchase 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from German company BioNtech. Meanwhile, Brazil also criticized Beijing for not being transparent about granting emergency use of the vaccine.
Countries seek help from India
Meanwhile, countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar, Qatar, Bhutan, Switzerland, Bahrain, Austria and South Korea have approached India for vaccine supply.
Indian Foreign Minister Harsh Vardhan Shringla recently said India could opt for joint production of vaccines in some countries based on their availability.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a virtual summit with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina assured that New Delhi will supply Dhaka with the vaccine whenever production starts.
Being a supplier of nearly 60% of the vaccine worldwide, India is also a global powerhouse for generic drugs. Among the six vaccines being tested in India are Covaxin, developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, in collaboration with the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research, and Covishield, jointly developed by the University of Oxford and the British drug manufacturer AstraZeneca.
India is also conducting tests for Russian Sputnik V in collaboration with Dr. Reddy’s laboratories. Modi during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly had assured that India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity would be used to help “all humanity” fight the crisis.
India’s biggest ambitions include helping neighboring countries as well as vaccinating some 300 million people by August.
Shringla also assured that India will help interested nations improve cold chain and storage capacities so that they can handle vaccines, especially Pfizer-BioNtech, which must be kept at temperatures below -70 C.
Luxembourg-based B Medical Systems, a global supplier of refrigerators, freezers and transport containers for medical use, plans to set up a production line in India as it looks forward to strengthening its cold chain.
The Serum Institute of Adarsh Poonawalla mass-produces AstraZeneca’s vaccine. His company produced 40 million doses before the vaccine’s phase three results and will have 100 million doses by next month and up to 400 million by April. The company can produce 500 doses of the vaccine per minute and half of that will be stored for India, the ABC report.
As promised, by the end of 2020, @SerumInstIndia applied for emergency use authorization for the first vaccine made in India, COVISHIELD. This will save countless lives and I thank the government of India and Sri @narendramodi ji for their invaluable support.
– Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) December 7, 2020
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, India has remained at the forefront of its health diplomacy, also seen as a contrast to China’s “ Health Silk Road ”, which is Beijing’s effort to position itself as a global health leader during the pandemic. COVID-19.
Despite the burden of COVID-19 cases at home, India has managed to send medical teams to the Maldives, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and the Seychelles. India has emerged as a “net exporter, producing over 500,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits and over 300,000 N-95 masks every day,” writes Shringla on Sputnik News.
With a total of 10.1 million cases, India is the second most affected country by the Coronavirus in the world, after the US tally of 18.7 million.
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