US agency announces partnership with Indian firm to manufacture 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses by 2022

New Delhi: After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's promise that India's formidable vaccine production capacity will be expanded with support from Quad countries to assist countries in the Indo-Pacific region, US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced that it will work with Indian manufacturer Biological E Ltd. to finance increased capacity to support efforts to produce at least 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.

The vaccines will have Stringent Regulatory Authorisation (SRA) and World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use Listing, including Johnson Johnson vaccines, the DFC said.

The announcement is part of the agency's Global Health and Prosperity Initiative under which the agency is working to increase manufacturing, production and distribution capacity for vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine, it said.

Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Modi on Friday, after the 'Quad' leaders' summit with Japan, the US and Australia, said, "United in our fight against COVID-19, we launched a landmark Quad partnership to ensure accessibility of safe COVID-19 vaccines. India's formidable vaccine production capacity will be expanded with support from Japan, US & Australia to assist countries in the Indo-Pacific region."

"Our discussions today on vaccines, climate change, and emerging technologies make the Quad a positive force for global good and for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific," he said further.

The announcement by the DFC came soon after the Quad meeting. The statement by the agency noted that the Biden-Harris Administration highlighted this announcement during the Quad Summit at which the leaders from the US, Australia, India and Japan announced a landmark partnership to further accelerate the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It is hard to conceive of an investment with a greater developmental impact than using our financial tools to increase the capacity of vaccine manufacturing to help developing countries in Asia and around the wood respond to COVID-19 and other diseases," said DFC Chief Operating Officer David Marchkk. "Expanding vaccine manufacturing. especially the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters. will help increase vaccination rates and protect communities around the world."

Biological E is a woman-run and woman-operated business, advancing DFC's 2X Women's Mitiativeto promote global gender equity. The vaccines Biological E plans to produce with the assistance of DEC's financing complement existing efforts to vaccinate as many people in the world as possible in the shortest amount of time, the agency said.

DFC Is looking to strengthen the vaccine supply chain and last mile logistics for distribution. DFC is accepting proposals under its Global Health and Prosperity Initiative. The agency seeks to invest between $5 million and $500 million per eligible project through its full range of financial tools which includes equity and debt financing, political risk insurance and technical development.

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