The United States on Sunday said it would immediately provide raw materials required for the manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines, ventilators and personal protective equipment, to help India battle the second wave of the infection.
The US will also urgently send oxygen generation and related supplies to India.
“Spoke today with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval about the spike in Covid cases in India and we agreed to stay in close touch in the coming days. The United States stands in solidarity with the people of India and we are deploying more supplies and resources,” Jake Sullivan, US national security advisor, wrote in a tweet.
“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. To this end, the United States is working around the clock to deploy available resources and supply. The United States has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India,” an official statement said.
The development comes against the backdrop of intense pressure on the Joe Biden administration in the US from various quarters, including the powerful US Chambers of Commerce, lawmakers, and Indian-Americans, to ship AstraZeneca and other Covid-19 vaccines, along with life-saving medical supplies, to India.
India has been urging the Biden administration to remove restrictions on raw material exports out of the US, which will help Serum Institute of India ramp up the production of Covid vaccines. While both nations have been engaging and trying to understand the situation, the US state department spokesperson last week said its first obligation was towards vaccinating the people in America.
According to the statement, the US development Finance Corp (DFC) is also funding a substantial expansion of manufacturing capability for Bio-E, the vaccine manufacturer in India, enabling Bio-E go produce at least 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.
India has been reporting more than 300,000 daily infections for the past few days, with hospitals falling short of beds, oxygen supplies, and other crucial medical equipment. Several other nations, including Germany, Pakistan and China have also offered India help to deal with the Covid-19 crisis.