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India hopeful US will soon end curbs on Covid vaccine raw materials export

The White House has invoked the wartime powers of the Defense Production Act to preserve vaccine raw materials for its own companies

Topics
Coronavirus | US India relations  | Serum Institute of India

Reuters  |  NEW DELHI 

vaccines, Sanofi Pasteur

By Rupam Jain and Neha Arora

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India is hopeful the United States will soon lift a ban on vaccine raw materials that has threatened to slow output of shots in the country, two Indian government sources told Reuters on Monday, after the foreign ministers of the two nations spoke.

One of the officials said the administration of President Joe Biden had told India that its request was being considered and would be acted upon "at the earliest".

India's foreign ministry said it did not have anything more to add than Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar's tweet that he and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had discussed, among other things, "issues pertaining to our health cooperation".

The U.S. State Department confirmed the two diplomats discussed COVID-19, but did not give details.

Washington has invoked the wartime powers of the Defense Production Act to preserve vaccine raw materials for its own companies, but the (SII), the world's biggest vaccine maker, has said this went against the global goal of sharing vaccines equitably.

Asked about the restrictions on exports, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said inequities in access to vaccines were "completely unacceptable," but declined to detail additional U.S. action to address that.

India is currently facing the world's worst surge in infections, which has led to a clamour for vaccines. India, with the world's biggest vaccine-making capacity, has also stopped major vaccine exports to meet local demand.

The potential movement on raw materials comes days after the SII chief executive tweeted directly to Biden to end the supply curb.

"U.S. needs to lift restrictions for APIs without which there cannot be vaccines for all," said one of the sources, referring to active pharmaceutical ingredients.

SII is licensed to make the AstraZeneca shot as well another developed by U.S. company Novavax.

 

(Additional reporting by Sanjeev Miglani, Euan Rocha and Simon Lewis; Writing by Krishna N. Das, Editing by William Maclean)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Tue, April 20 2021. 07:16 IST
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