Foreign minister S Jaishankar (File photo)
NEW DELHI: With India’s biggest challenge at present being supply chains for vaccines, India and the US, which is indispensable for vaccine production, are contemplating a partnership that could swiftly ramp up global vaccine capacity. This covers both India-made vaccines Covishield and Covaxin, as well as a bunch of others which are being produced in India.
Foreign minister S Jaishankar will resume a conversation with his counterpart Anthony Blinken on putting the resources, capacities and skills of India and the US, with some European participation, to swiftly ramp up production of vaccines for global use.
The Jaishankar-Blinken conversation will take up from where the two men left off in London. According to sources, the 45-minute meeting was largely consumed by talk on vaccines. That conversation will be carried forward this week.
The frantic search for vaccine components began recently — Indian diplomats are currently scouring the world for components from countries in Europe, Japan etc. At the Quad summit on March 12, India made a big pitch to the US to ease exports of vaccine components. The Jaishankar-Blinken conversation in London succeeded in the US shipping components for 20 million Covishield doses to Serum Institute.
About 80% of these components come from the US. Companies like Cytiva, Irvine Scientific, Life Technologies, Cor ning and Ther ma Fisher are the leaders in specialty manufacturing.
India comes to the partnership with strong credentials as it is unique in terms of productivity of vaccines and pharmaceuticals. For example, sources said, of all the 15 production centres for the Astra Zeneca vaccine, Serum Institute is the most productive.
Currently, India manufactures about 70 million doses of Covid vaccines a month. These numbers can be increased substantially, the government feels, if the supply of components remains uninterrupted.