India likely to produce bulk of coronavirus vaccine, says Gates Foundation CEO

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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Chief Executive Officer Mark Suzman said that India is likely to manufacture a significant portion of coronavirus vaccine through its “solid and robust” private sector, PTI reported on Wednesday.

In an interview with the news agency, Suzman also said that India was doing its best to tackle the coronavirus pandemic with the tools at hand.

“I think India is doing all it can right now with the capital at hand, but we are all confident that any of these vaccines will come out next year … And we expect that a very significant portion of these will likely be developed in India by strong and robust Indian private sector partners, and that will be the main area to focus on in the next step of the Covid pandemic.

The Chief Executive Officer confirmed that the Foundation agrees that there is a need for an equal global delivery of coronavirus vaccines. He added that the Foundation is working to ensure that developed countries have access to the vaccine “at the same time and at the same volume” as rich countries. However, he added that distribution within countries will depend on their directives, along with global recommendations.

Suzman also said that the foundation was focusing on a multi-level war against the Covid-19 pandemic. “We are partnering with this group, CEPI, the Alliance for Disease Preparedness Innovation, which has been a leading collaborator in engaging in future vaccines,” he told the news agency. “They have built something called a clinical accelerator that has raised more than $125 million (approximately Rs 921 crore) to help discover drugs that would be successful against Covid.

In addition to the therapeutic accelerator, the Chief Executive Officer confirmed that the Foundation was still focusing on diagnostics, noting that it was a sponsor of the Covax Facility, a worldwide initiative to produce and administer coronavirus vaccines.

On the Grand Challenge Platform and its importance in the battle against Covid-19, Suzman said that several scientists and doctors who entered the Platform were focusing on various aspects of the infection. Grand Challenges India was formulated as a collaboration between the Foundation and the Indian Department of Biotechnology in 2012. Wellcome, a research-charity company based in the United Kingdom, has joined the collaboration. The platform works on health and sustainability issues ranging from maternal and infant health, sanitation, agriculture, nutrition, and infectious diseases.

He said that one of the key lessons learned from the pandemic is that we need a permanent system at both global, state, and regional levels so that the environment is ready when the next one arrives.

Coronavirus infected more than 4,07 crore people and killed 11,23,824 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The world’s recovery has reached 2.78 crores.

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