New Delhi: Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla has said that India is in talks with global pharma major like Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, and Moderna for local manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines, a development that comes even as India has been trying to increase the production of vaccines for its population and for export.
He was speaking at World Health Organization’s “South-East Asia Regional Health Partners’ Forum on COVID-19″.
Shringla said, “We are also part of the discussions with major vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna about sourcing and possible local manufacturing of their vaccines in India. We have also helped to expedite the introduction of Sputnik-V vaccines.”
Currently only Covishield produced by Serum Institute of India, Covaxin produced by Bharat Biotech, and Russian COVID vaccine Sputnik V have been given authorization in the country. Last month saw India getting the first batches of Suptink V vaccines, which will be also produced by Indian companies.
Shringla mentioned that India is “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”.
Notably, India and South Africa had given a proposal for waver on COVID vaccine patent at the WTO which will help in mass production of the vaccines for the world. The hesitations by the west have dropped over it after the US extended its support to it. Earlier in the week, BRICS became the first multilateral block to extend support to the proposal.
Shringla also said that New Delhi looks forward to the World Health Organisation giving approval to India’s indigenous vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biotech – Covaxin. Hyderabad-based firm submitted an application to the WHO for Emergency Use Listing (EUL) on 19th April and a pre-submission meeting will take place in June.
He highlighted how amid the pandemic which he termed as a “Black Swan event”, the ministry of external affairs “had to innovate, to repurpose and to re-engineer and create an entirely new vertical for pandemic diplomacy.”
He explained that the “Ministry and our network of diplomatic posts played a key role in organizing the ‘Vande Bharat’ Mission, the largest logistical exercise of its kind ever undertaken.”
The Vande Bharat mission facilitated the movement of 7 million people through lockdown and post-lockdown periods.
The ministry as the “global arm of the Government of India’s Empowered Group” procured raw materials during the crisis.
During the April to August 2020 period, 91 cargo flights brought in Ventilators, PPE kits, test kits, etc. from across the globe to meet the domestic demand.