The White House announced Sunday the Joe Biden government would deploy additional supplies and support to India as the nation deals with a spike in COVID-19 cases.
A readout of a call between the two nations’ national security advisers said that to help treat COVID patients and protect front-line health workers in India, America has identified supplies of therapeutics, rapid diagnostic COVID-19 test kits, ventilators, and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) that would immediately be made available for the country.
The United States of America is also pursuing options to provide oxygen generation and associated supplies urgently.
According to administration and scientific tallies, on Saturday, India reported 349691 new coronavirus cases, the fourth consecutive day the country has set a world record for daily virus infections.
During the call between Jake Sullivan, the United States national security adviser, and his Indian counterpart, Ajit Doval, Jake Sullivan expressed deep sympathy for the Indian people following the recent spike in coronavirus cases.
The readout said that just as India sent help to the United States as their hospitals were strained early in the epidemic, America is determined to help Indians in its time of need.
The release went on to say that America has identified specific raw material urgently needed for Indian production of the Covishield vaccine that would immediately be made available for India.
The White House also stated that the United States Development Finance Corporation would fund a substantial expansion of manufacturing capacity for BioE, the vaccine producer in India, enabling BioE to ramp up to produce at least one billion COVID-19 vaccine shots by the end of 2022.
The U.S. FDA hasn’t granted AstraZeneca Emergency Use Approval
According to the White House, America would also send an expert team of public health advisors from the CDC and USAID to collaborate with the United States embassy, India’s Epidemic Intelligence Service staff, and India’s Health Ministries.
According to a source familiar, National Security Council authorities held meetings over the weekend on how to help India, and the Health and Human Services Department did as well. The discussions have revolved around providing more COVID vaccine components and raw materials for administering vaccines, in addition to oxygen supply and PPE.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. top infectious disease expert, described those discussions in a Sunday interview on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, saying, right then, even as they speak, George, there is a discussion about really ramping up what they could do on the ground, oxygen supplies, drugs, COVID-19 tests, PPE, and taking a look in the intermediate and long-run about how could get coronavirus vaccines to these people.
But the latest statement from President Biden’s national security adviser didn’t mention sharing AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine shots, of which the United States has millions stockpiled. The jabs have gone unused, except a few million sent to Mexico and Canada, because AstraZeneca hasn’t been granted emergency use approval (EUA) by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yet.
The government has faced pressure to release AstraZeneca vaccines to India. A source familiar with the matter stated the issue has come up in meetings, but a decisive decision is still up in the air.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview that sending COVID vaccines to India is a possibility
The White House senior adviser for COVID-19 response, Andy Slavitt, wouldn’t say on Sunday whether America intends to send coronavirus vaccines to India.
He told CNN’s Pamela Brown on Newsroom that when they decide what they’re going to do with additional COVID vaccines, they’ll announce them about exporting them. They’re evaluating all these possibilities.
In March, the United States loaned nearly 4M doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to Canada and Mexico.
Dr. Fauci said in his interview that sending COVID vaccines is a possibility. Presently, the CDC is consulting with India and providing technical help.
Earlier this April, Dr. Fauci told Reuters that America possibly would not need the AstraZeneca vaccine even if it is approved for emergency use.