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Covid-19: US diverting raw material to Serum Institute for Covid-19 vaccine production

The United States on Monday rolled out a series of supportive measures to help India’s titanic fight against the Covid-19 upsurge, including diverting raw material to the Serum Institute to India to manufacture vaccines, and rushing oxygen generating systems and the drug Remdesivir, even as President Biden pledged America’s full support to provide emergency assistance and resources to New Delhi.

Senior US administration officials outlined a series of steps to aid India’s fight after Biden phoned Modi to express sympathy and support after nearly three days of silence on the dire situation in India. “India was there for us, and we will be there for them,” Biden said in a tweet minutes after the phone call.

Officials said the US was also deploying a CDC strike team to India to help the country’s efforts.
However, the US will not be directly supplying the Astra Zeneca vaccine that it has stockpiled and not using. Administration officials said India had not asked for the vaccines while explaining that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is yet to complete the process that it will fully meet expectations of safety.

Once that process is complete, about 10 million vaccines will become available for foreign supply (since the US is not using Astra Zeneca) and a further 50 million vaccines will be available by June-July.

White House National Security Council Officials also declined to answer questions on the Indian request for a waiver of intellectual property and patent rights in relation to the fight against Covid, while confirming Prim Minister Modi had raised the matter in his phone conversation with President Biden. They bumped the issue across to the US Trade Representative’s office.

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