India will use its vaccine production capacity to help the world in fighting the Covid-19 crisis and New Delhi stands ready to help countries enhance their cold chain and storage capacities for delivery of vaccines, foreign secretary Harsh Shringla said on Friday.
Shringla made the remarks while briefing the diplomatic corps and representatives of international organisations on India’s Covid-19 response and vaccine development programme, including international cooperation in this field.
“Several countries have been approaching us for receiving vaccine supply. I reiterate our prime minister’s commitment that India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis,” he said.
“India will also help interested countries in enhancing their cold chain and storage capacities for the delivery of vaccines.”
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As a first step, Shringla said, the government will take a delegation of ambassadors on a tour of vaccine and diagnostic facilities in Pune to give them a “flavour of India’s robust and resilient progress in vaccine development and in the trial process”.
India is “on track” in the development and trial of vaccines, he said. “We are exploring the possibility of conducting phase-III trials in a few of our partner countries. We are also looking forward to research collaboration in the field of vaccine development,” he said.
“Based on willingness, we may also go for joint production of vaccines in some countries. We have already conducted online training sessions for nearly 90 participants from eight neighbouring countries to develop capacity in clinical trials and clinical practices. Based on demand, we can conduct more such training courses,” he added.
Besides Shringla, the panel that briefed the diplomatic corps included VK Paul, member (Health) of the Niti Aayog and chairman of the national expert group on vaccine administration of Covid-19, principal scientific advisor K Vijay Raghavan, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan, department of biotechnology secretary Renu Swarup, department of science and technology secretary Ashutosh Sharma, CSIR director general Shekhar Mande and Abhishek Singh, CEO of the e-governance division of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
Shringla noted that Covid-19 continued to be a challenge worldwide, with increasing cases every day. “I have returned yesterday from Europe where a second wave of the pandemic is in evidence. In India, the daily case load has reduced to below 50,000 from around a 100,000 few weeks ago,” he said.
During the past few months, India added enormous production capacity for personal protective equipment, test kits and medicines that is being shared with others, he said.
Due to an increase in testing numbers, contact tracing, an effective isolation protocol, increased availability of medical equipment and test kits and a sustained public awareness campaign, India’s recovery rate as of November 3 was 91.96 % and the case fatality rate was 1.49 %.