India is looking forward to the WHO’s approval for its indigenous Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biotech and is in talks with major vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna about sourcing and possible local manufacture of their jabs in India, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said today.
Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech has applied to the WTO for the Emergency Use Listing (EUL) of its vaccine candidate Covaxin. However, the WHO has sought “more information” from Bharat Biotech on its EUL application.
Addressing the WHO’s “South-East Asia Regional Health Partners’ Forum on Covid-19”, Shringla also stated that India was working with several other countries in the WTO on a targeted and temporary waiver under TRIPS to ensure timely and secure access to vaccines for all.
Pointing out that India was fighting an exceptionally severe second wave of the pandemic, he said the country was simultaneously dealing with unprecedented economic and social disruptions and distress.
”Challenges of this nature require a response at multiple levels. Nationally, it requires not just a whole-of-government approach but a whole-of-society approach. It also requires us to source solutions and capacities on a global basis,” he said.
The Indian diplomat said India has, throughout the pandemic, identified and connected with potential suppliers of essential medicines, raw materials and medical equipment across the world. ”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.”
Noting that vaccines have complex supply chains, he said India has worked to ease regulatory disruptions to these supply chains with key partners through diplomatic interventions.
Shringla said India would participate in the process of creating global scale capacities that were needed to deal with pandemic scale challenges. A number of serious global conversations were underway on this in platforms such as the G7, the G20, QUAD, BRICS, the United Nations and the WHO itself.
Every crisis, he observed, was followed by growth. ”The same will happen as the pandemic ultimately wanes. We will participate fully in the international process of regeneration through building newer and more resilient supply chains, by focusing on newer technologies and knowledge-driven opportunities and leveraging India’s strengths and capacities,” he added.