COVID pandemic, vaccines and India: Biden administration has understood the importance of mutuality of purpose

Newsroom24x7 Network

Within days of an exclusive report by PB Jayakumar published on 22 April by Business Today underscoring “Mumbai headquartered pharma and nutraceutical specialty ingredient maker VAV Lifesciences and its subsidiary VAV Lipids was going to supply highly purified ‘synthetic phospholipids’ required for vaccine manufacturing in US”, the US President Joe Biden had to take a u-turn, talk at length to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and promise a whole series of help that India needed immediately, including raw material for vaccine production in india.

Jayakumar wrote: ‘While the US has restricted export of vaccine ingredients to help its domestic COVID-19  vaccine manufacturers Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, an Indian company is supplying a crucial and rare ingredient required for manufacturing their m-RNA technology based COVID-19 vaccines.” It was his advice that India could use this as lever or bargaining chip to lift the US curbs on raw material supply for vaccine production in india.

On April 27 afternoon (close to midnight in India) Biden said with regard to India, that he spoke at length with Modi, and the US was sending immediately a whole series of help that India needs, including providing for those — Remdesivir and other drugs that are able to deal with COVID and prevent, in some cases, and help recovery. 

Secondly, he also announced, we are sending the actual mechanical parts that are needed for the machinery they have to build a vaccine.  And that’s being done as well. 

During his talk with Prime Minister Modi, Biden also underscored his intention to send actual vaccines to India.

The problem is, right now, we have to make sure we have other vaccines, like Novavax and others, coming on, probably.  And I think we’ll be in a position to be able to share — to share vaccines, as well as know-how, with other countries who are in real need. Notwithstanding the much publicised assurance to India regarding lifting of curb on supply of raw material required by India for vaccines, Biden, obviously intentionally, omitted any mention of this during his briefing at White House this past Tuesday.

Of course, he did acknowledge an important fact by stating: “And I might add, when we were in a bind at the very beginning, India helped us”. 

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