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India calls for securing global supply chains, implement vaccine patent waiver at COVID-19 Global Action meeting

New Delhi: At the US-led COVID-19 Global Action Meeting on Monday, India has called for “Strengthening and securing” the global supply chain and implementation of vaccine patent waiver. India was represented at the virtual meet by foreign secretary Harsh Shringla. Sources said that New Delhi emphasized that it will “rally with like-minded partners and the WHO to improve sub-optimal approval and regulatory processes which are an impediment for stable and predictable supplies” even as it called for “implementation of the TRIPS waiver”. 

The TRIPS Covid vaccine waiver was co-sponsored by India and South Africa at the WTO and aims to diversify local manufacturing so that covid vaccines are available to a large segment of the global population.

US Secretary of state Blinken chaired the meeting that lasted for 2 hours. The meet saw India highlighting its development assistance to the international community by conducting 17 training modules for more than 60 countries on COVID management. 

Sources pointed out that at the meet India said that it will take its “experience in testing, treating and vaccinating a large population spread out in different geographies” to create “customized and tailor-made capacity building and technical training programmes” for healthcare workers in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

India has supplied over 162 million vaccine doses to 97 countries and 2 UN organizations. As part of the Quad summit outcomes of last year, a billion doses of India made vaccines will be delivered in the Indo Pacific in 2022. 

The Indian Foreign Secretary has also proposed the extension of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network of laboratories for genomic sequencing and surveillance in the neighborhood.

During the meet, FS Shringla underlined the measures India has been taking domestically to deal with the covid crisis, which includes fully vaccinating 70% of the adult population, use of digital certification platform CoWin for vaccination purposes. New Delhi is in talks with WHO for an MoU for sharing of CoWIN platform globally through WHO’s C-TAP initiative.

Sources said while mentioning how “India has worked effectively to contain the pandemic, protecting both lives and livelihoods”, FS underscored the role of the Indian Pharma Industry that “helped stabilize global supply chains for vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics during the acute phase of the pandemic”. 

Currently, four WHO-approved vaccines –COVAXIN, COVISHIELD, COVOVAX and JANSSEN– and three others are due for approvals –CORBEVAX, ZyCov-D and Gennova–are being produced in India. It is estimated that the country has the capacity to produce 5 billion doses in 2022.

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