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Thursday, June 24, 2021

In talks with pharma majors to locally manufacture vaccines: Foreign Secretary

Addressing the WHO’s South-East Asia Regional Health Partners’ Forum on Covid-19, he said that the government has worked with key partners to ease regulatory disruptions to vaccine supply chains.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: June 4, 2021 4:11:23 am
In talks with major pharma firms to source, locally manufacture COVID-19 vaccines: Foreign SecretaryHarsh Vardhan Shringla said a number of serious global conversations are underway on this in platforms such as the G7, G20, QUAD, BRICS, the United Nations and WHO itself. (Express Photo)

DISCUSSIONS ARE underway with major pharma companies about sourcing and possibly manufacturing their Covid-19 vaccines locally while India is looking forward to World Health Organisation’s (WHO) approval for Bharat Biotech’s indigenously developed vaccine, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Thursday.

“We are also part of discussions with major vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, and Moderna about sourcing and possible local manufacturing of their vaccines in India. We have also helped to expedite the introduction of the Sputnik-V vaccine,” Shringla said.

Addressing the WHO’s South-East Asia Regional Health Partners’ Forum on Covid-19, he said that the government has worked with key partners to ease regulatory disruptions to vaccine supply chains.

“Vaccines have complex supply chains. We have worked to ease regulatory disruptions to these supply chains with key partners through diplomatic interventions. We are also looking forward to WHO’s approval for India’s indigenous vaccine made by Bharat Biotech,” Shringla said.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic is now well into its second year and India is fighting an “exceptionally severe” second wave.

He said a number of serious global conversations are underway on this in platforms such as the G7, G20, QUAD, BRICS, the United Nations and WHO itself.

India is also working with several other countries in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on a targeted and temporary waiver under TRIPS to ensure timely and secure access to vaccines for all, the foreign secretary said.

The country will participate in the international process of regeneration through building newer and more resilient supply chains by focusing on newer technologies, knowledge-driven opportunities and leveraging its strengths and capacities.

During the first Covid wave last year, a global sourcing operation was launched to procure ventilators, PPE kits, test kits and others. These helped India to tide over the situation till domestic manufacturing scaled up to meet the demand, Shringla said.

A total of 91 cargo flights were organised between April and August 2020 to bring in these supplies, he said.

“The effort to procure urgently needed medical supplies was reactivated during the second wave. We have been a vital part of a global effort to source liquid medical oxygen, cryogenic ISO tankers, zeolites and essential medicines like Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and Amphotericin B.

“These have been sourced from multiple nations and moved to multiple destinations in India,” Shringla said, adding the MEA will continue to facilitate supplies of essential raw materials and components.

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