President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden
AFP Photo

The United States has identified sources of specific raw material "urgently required" for manufacturing of Covishield vaccine and it will immediately be made available for India, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on Sunday. The two spoke over the phone, and Sullivan expressed "deep sympathy" for the people of India following the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

"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. To this end, the United States is working around the clock to deploy available resources and supplies. 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 read.

"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, 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," it added.

The United States further said that 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," the statement added.

On the issue of exporting raw materials to India, the United States had on Friday said that it has to first take care of the requirements of Americans. US State Department spokesperson Ned Price was asked if President Joe Biden's administration had made a decision on India's request to relax export of vaccine raw materials. He had replied: "We have a special responsibility to the American people. It's, of course, not only in our interest to see Americans vaccinated, it's in the interests of the rest of the world to see Americans vaccinated." Reportedly, he then said that the US will always do as much as they can, consistent with their first obligation.

Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawala had on April 16 urged Biden to allow exports of material crucial for the manufacturing of Covaxin. "If we are to truly unite in beating this virus, on behalf of the vaccine industry outside the US, I humbly request you to lift the embargo of raw material exports out of the US so that vaccine production can ramp up," he had tweeted.

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