US eyes joint production of Johnson and Johnson Covid vaccine in India, in touch with Serum Institute

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May 12, 2021 4:37 PM

The White House, last month, had said the United States plans to share AstraZeneca covid vaccine's 60 million doses globally as soon as they become available, and a significant chunk of the stockpile is being expected by India.

covid, vaccineThe ministry added that daily Covid-19 positive cases in the country remained below the three-lakh-level for the third consecutive day on Saturday. However, the number of daily deaths continued to stay above the 4,000-mark.

To boost production of COVID-19 vaccine, the United States is looking at joint production of Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine in India and ways to help manufacturers such as India’s Serum Institute, Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy, Daniel B Smith said on Tuesday. Smith was quoted in an IE report saying that the efficacy of AstraZeneca’s covid vaccine, developed at a production facility in Baltimore, is not clear and those doses have not yet been certified by the US Food and Drug Administration. The White House, last month, had said the United States plans to share AstraZeneca covid vaccine’s 60 million doses globally as soon as they become available, and a significant chunk of the stockpile is being expected by India.

Speaking at a media briefing, the Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy said the United States was concerned over the pandemic situation in India, not only because of the humanitarian catastrophe but also due to the fact that it has global implications. In response to a question, Smith said the doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were manufactured at a plant outside of Baltimore but this plant had some problems. So far, these vaccines have not been certified by the Food and Drug Administration of the US that are available for anyone’s use, for export or not. To another question on vaccines’ joint production, Smith said it takes time to set up joint production. He also said that the US was looking at how it can invest in boosting vaccine production.

According to Smith, their development finance cooperation is looking at how they can invest to help manufacture Johnson and Johnson’s covid vaccine here in India. He also said to be aware of some private sector production talks that are underway from pharmaceutical companies. He claimed that their government is ready to encourage licensing as well as encourage more production and if there is any requirement of capital, the government will look at what it can provide and whether it can provide assistance.

India’s role in Covid vaccines’ production is critical, Smith said. He said that the US is in close touch with the Serum Institute to see what raw materials and assistance it could provide to help boost production. The United States is in contact with multiple vaccine manufacturers across the country.

As India is suffering from the second wave of covid infections, six planeloads of life-saving supplies have been deployed by the US in support of the fight against the pandemic. The United States government’s assistance to India is estimated at USD 100 million. According to Smith, there was a need to closely work in a bid to address issues relating to the supply chain. A lot of the firms that produce key components as well as raw materials are located in the United States, but many are not, he said. So, they are going to work together as a global community in order to address some of these supply chain issues and challenges, he added.

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