US to financially assist India’s COVID-19 vaccine production
US is going to financially support Indian drugmaker Biological E to produce COVID-19 vaccines
In a major boost to the ongoing battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has announced it will financially support the efforts of the Indian manufacturer Biological E Ltd to accelerate the capacity of the production of COVID-19 vaccines to at least 1 billion doses by the end of 2022.
The DFC will finance the Biological E’s vaccine production efforts in accordance with the Stringent Regulatory Authorization (SRA) and/or World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use Listing (EUL). As per a PTI report, the DFC has made this announcement as part of its Global Health and Prosperity Initiative aimed at enhancing global manufacturing, production and distribution capacity of various vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine.
Biological E is planning to produce enough vaccines to inoculate the maximum number of people globally as soon as possible with Development Finance Corporation’s financial assistance. In this regard, the DFC seeks to provide funds between $5 million and $500 million per eligible project through various financial tools, such as political risk insurance, technical development, and equity and debt financing.
“It is hard to conceive of an investment with a greater developmental impact than using our financial tools to increase the capacity of vaccine manufacturing to help developing countries in Asia and around the world respond to COVID-19 and other diseases. Expanding vaccine manufacturing, especially the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters, will help increase vaccination rates and protect communities around the world,” DFC Chief Operating Officer David Marchick said, as quoted by media reports.
This development has come days after US President Joe Biden and other Quad leaders including Australia and Japan agreed on joining hands to expand India’s COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing and distribution capacity to global use. During the first virtual summit of the ‘Quad’ group of countries last week, the US, Japan, Australia, and India pledged to work with the World Health Organization (WHO) to produce and distribute COVID-19 vaccine to one billion people across the Indo-Pacific region. The three countries have vowed more than $200 million to help Indian drug companies to expand their existing capacities to add one billion vaccine doses to the global supply.
For the first time, India’s PM Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Australian PM Scott Morrison and Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga shared a virtual forum to discuss the start of a joint initiative to counter the challenge posed by China in the fight against COVID-19.
Addressing a briefing after the Quad summit, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that the “Quad Vaccine Partnership” envisages strengthening India’s vaccine manufacturing capacity to produce single-dose vaccines with US-based Johnson and Johnson through fundings from the US and Japan (through Japan International Cooperation Agency-JICA), along with Australia’s assistance shipments and logistical issues for distribution across the Indo-Pacific region.
Earlier taking to Twitter, PM Modi had posted: “United in our fight against COVID-19, we launched a landmark Quad partnership to ensure accessibility of safe COVID-19 vaccines. India’s formidable vaccine production capacity will be expanded with support from Japan, US & Australia to assist countries in the Indo-Pacific region.”
Essentially, India is one of the biggest vaccine producers in the world. With one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical manufacturing capacities, India has emerged as a prominent player in the global COVID-19 vaccination efforts.