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‘India’s low-cost vaccines have rescued the world’: Top US scientist says India’s efforts need wider recognition

"There is something very special going on in India. I am on weekly teleconferences with our colleagues in India, you make a recommendation, and within days it's done and not only done, but it's also done meticulously and with great rigour, thought and creativity," said Dr Hortez

India is at the forefront in leading global efforts to battle out the scourge of coronavirus. It has partnered with various foreign institutes to develop vaccines to counter the infection that first emerged from the central Chinese city of Wuhan and brought the entire world to its knees. Now, an eminent American scientist has hailed India’s contributions in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, stating that the country’s efforts in fighting the deadly coronavirus have ‘rescued the world’ and it must not be underestimated.

Speaking at a webinar organised by Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH), Dr Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston said that the vaccines developed by India, in collaboration with universities across the world such as BCM and the Oxford University, have had more impact than the two mRNA vaccines that were prohibitively expensive for most of the world’s low and middle-income countries. In this sense, he added, India’s vaccine efforts have “rescued the world” and stated that the country’s contribution in fighting coronavirus ought to deserve global recognition.

Dr Hotez, an internationally acclaimed physician-scientist in neglected tropical diseases and vaccine development, was speaking at the webinar “Covid-19: Vaccination and Potential Return to Normalcy – If and When”, when he said that the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is “India’s gift” to the world in combating the virus.

Dr Hotez said he is compelled to talk about India’s efforts in fighting the global pandemic because it is not getting the global attention and the recognition that it deserves. “There is something very special going on in India and I have seen it myself because I am on weekly teleconferences with our colleagues in India, you make a recommendation, and within days it’s done and not only done, it’s done meticulously and with great rigour, thought and creativity,” said Dr Hortez, who is working on an affordable coronavirus vaccine in collaboration with Indian pharmaceutical companies.

India leads the global fight against deadly coronavirus

Ever since the pandemic started galloping across the globe, India tapped into its medical prowess to thwart the rampaging infection. From building genome sequencing to diagnosing the infection, manufacturing high-quality personal protective equipment and masks, India has demonstrated to the world why it has been dubbed as the ‘pharmacy of the world’.

India also took leverage of its vast vaccine production capacity to help the rapid development and production of the COVID-19 vaccine. Research organisations and vaccine manufacturers across the country partnered with leading foreign universities to develop efficacious coronavirus vaccine candidates to cater to the global need for COVID-19 vaccines to blunt the pandemic.

The drugs regulator in India gave emergency approval to COVISHIELD, a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pune-based Serum Institute of India after securing a licence from British pharma company AstraZeneca, along with COVAXIN, indigenously developed jointly by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and Indian Council of Medical Research scientists.

Not only has India excelled in producing low-cost yet effective COVID-19 vaccines for countries that couldn’t afford the more expensive Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, but as a part of its commitment to fight COVID-19, India has also helped other countries in fortifying their respective fights against the coronavirus by providing them with doses of COVID-19 vaccines free-of-cost as a goodwill gesture. From countries in its immediate neighborhood to nations halfway across the globe, such as in the Caribbean and Latin America, India has delivered free shots of COVID-19 vaccines to bolster the global fight against the coronavirus.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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