The United States has decided to make available the essential raw material for vaccine production in India, which fights rapid coronavirus outbreaks.
Less than 10% of India’s population has been vaccinated so far, and Indian manufacturers have complained of a shortage of vital raw materials as they struggle to meet demand.
What assistance is the United States offering to India?
A statement from the US administration said they had found “special raw materials” needed to make Kovishild vaccines in India (made under license from AstraZeneca).
They will be made “immediately available”.
Earlier this year, President Biden invoked the U.S. Defense Production Act (DPA), which meant that U.S. vaccine manufacturers would have primary access to specialized equipment, such as pumps and filters.
India’s largest producer of vaccines, the Indian Serum Institute, which produces Covishield, has complained of a lack of US-specialized materials, and its chief executive, Adar Punawalla, has called on President Biden to lift the restrictions.
The company said it was having difficulty importing mobile crops, disposable tubes and specialized chemicals from the United States.
However, Mr. Punawala recently suggested on Indian television that they now manage problems with Covishield production but have problems with other vaccine materials, Covovax.
Dr. Sarah Schiffling, an expert in the vaccine supply chain at the University of John von Mors in Liverpool, says that the pharmaceutical supply chain is very complex and specialized.
“Even when [global] The demand is very high, new suppliers can not sprout as fast as in some other industries, or at least those new suppliers would not be trusted. “
The United States has also announced it will fund a “significant expansion” of production for another Indian company, Biological E, which makes the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The United States says it will help the company increase production to at least one billion doses by the end of 2022.
What is India doing to increase production?
The Indian Serum Institute (SII) երկու Bharat Biotech (which manufactures Kovacs)’s two major manufacturers of vaccines have been promised $ 400 million և $ 210 million each by the Government of India.
Indian authorities halted large-scale exports of Kovishilde in March, although some other small donations were allowed to other countries, as well as some stocks promised by the global vaccine-sharing Kovacs.
India has also allowed the import of foreign-made vaccines, such as Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, although none of the vaccine manufacturers have yet applied for an emergency patent in India.
The Indian Drug Enforcement Administration recently approved the Russian Sputnik V vaccine for emergency use.
India will produce 850 million vaccines a year with its five pharmaceutical companies, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which funds research and development of Sputnik V.
They will be available for both the Indian market and for export, although production has not yet begun.
Impact on vaccine production
The Indian Serum Institute (SII) has been struggling for some time to increase production to meet domestic և global demand.
The company announced in January that a monthly dose of 60-70 million vaccines is being prepared. This includes Covishield Nov US-developed Novavax (not yet licensed for use in India).
However, plans to increase production to 100 million units by March were pushed back to June.
Last year, SII agreed to provide an initial 200 million doses to Covax, a WHO-supported vaccine distribution program to provide access to low- and middle-income countries from 100 million AstraZeneca և Novavax vaccines.
SII was expected to deliver the first 100 million doses between February and May, but Indian government figures show that it has only reached 30 million so far (this includes the 10 million allocated to India under Covax). :
SII also traded more than 900 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine and 145 million doses of Novavax, according to the United Nations.
Covax, a global vaccine partner of Covax, reported that SII was legally required to provide vaccines for the program.
The company recently confirmed that it had been notified by the UK-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca of its obligation to supply vaccines, although it did not provide details.
And in India itself, a number of states now have a shortage of vaccine, which, according to some sources, includes the areas most affected by the recent sharp rise in Covidians.
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