WASHINGTON – The Biden administration said that it will immediately make raw materials needed for India’s coronavirus vaccine production available as the country works to counter the surge of Covid-19 infections.
In recent weeks, India has grappled with a staggering rise in new coronavirus infections. Over the weekend, India set another global record for daily cases, bringing the nation’s cumulative total to 16,960,172 cases, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins.
“Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need,” National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said in a statement on Sunday.
Horne added that the United States would send raw materials required for India to manufacture the Covishield vaccine, as well as therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators and protective equipment.
“The U.S. Development Finance Corporation is funding a substantial expansion of manufacturing capability for BioE, the vaccine manufacturer in India, enabling BioE to ramp up to produce at least 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of 2022,” Horne wrote, adding that the U.S. would also send a team of public health advisors from the Center for Disease Control and USAID to India.
The announcement comes on the heels of a Sunday call between Biden National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Sullivan “affirmed America’s solidarity with India, the two countries with the greatest number of Covid-19 cases in the world,” according to a readout of the call.
The U.S. response comes after Britain, France and Germany pledged aid to India over the weekend.
On Sunday, Biden wrote on Twitter that his administration was “determined to help India in its time of need.”
Last week, as the United States administered a new record of 200 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine, Biden told reporters that his administration was looking at more ways to help internationally.
“We’re looking at what is going to be done with some of the vaccines that we are not using. We’re going to make sure they are safe to be sent,” Biden said on April 21.
“We don’t have enough to be confident to send it abroad now. But I expect we’re going to be able to do that,” he added.