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India-US healthcare partnership crucial in battle against coronavirus

The India-US cooperation is proving crucial to confront the health challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, including future vaccine development and distribution, New Delhi’s top envoy in the US has said.

India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post on Monday and said: As societies that respect innovation, India and the United States can do much to provide solutions to the novel coronavirus pandemic and to build a healthier, safer world beyond.”

As both India and the United States combat a pandemic of unprecedented scale, the two countries have drawn upon the strength of their long-standing health-care ties to help them better understand the novel coronavirus and find workable solutions, he wrote.

As of August 24, more than 5 million cases have been confirmed in the US. There have been more than 170,000 deaths in the country. India’s COVID-19 tally rose to 31,67,323 on Tuesday, while the death toll climbed to 58,390.

In India, the government and the private sector have worked together to ensure the integrity of medical supply chains, and essential medicines from India have continued to reach the United States and some 150 partner countries, Sandhu wrote.

But more urgently, the India-US cooperation is proving crucial to confront health challenges posed by the pandemic, including future vaccine development and distribution, the Indian Ambassador wrote.

The India-US partnership in medical research has been complemented by the strength of our cooperation in pharmaceuticals, he wrote adding that India’s capabilities in R&D and in manufacturing have made its pharmaceutical sector the world’s third-largest by volume.

These strengths have been bolstered by government incentives to encourage investments in the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Indian generic drugs have found a ready market across the globe, with Indian firms supplying about 40 per cent of generic formulations marketed in the United States, he said.

This has allowed American health-care consumers to save billions and enjoy enhanced access to quality medicines. The pharmaceutical sector has also been a significant job creator in the United States, with Indian firms investing billions to establish manufacturing facilities in different states in this country, Sandhu wrote.

According to the envoy, when the coronavirus outbreak began, the network of existing collaborations between the countries sprang into action.

Using the platform of the India-US Science and Technology Forum, an initiative led by both governments, calls were put out to support joint research and incubate start-up engagements.

The initiative was directed at developing technologies for the containment and management of the novel coronavirus, including diagnostics and therapeutics, he said.

The op-ed by Ambassador was highly appreciated and tweeted by many. India-US cooperation is proving crucial to confront #health challenges posed by the COVID19 pandemic, including future vaccine development and distribution, said US Indian Business Council. – CNBC 18

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