India ready to help countries in vaccine production and delivery: FS Shringla to diplomats

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New Delhi, Nov 6 (PTI) India on Friday conveyed to several countries that it will use its strength in vaccine production and delivery to help humanity in fighting the coronavirus crisis.

The message was delivered by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla during a briefing organized for more than 190 heads of diplomatic missions and international organisations and their representatives.

'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. India will also help interested countries in enhancing their cold chain and storage capacities for the delivery of vaccines,' Shringla said.

The interaction was organised to provide the envoys a briefing on India’s management of COVID-19, its vaccine development programme, software and related issues of vaccine delivery system and international cooperation.

It was conveyed that the Ministry of External Affairs would organize a tour of heads of diplomatic missions and international organisations to Pune later this month where they can visit the institutions engaged in COVID-19 related research and vaccine development programmes, a statement issued by the MEA on the briefing said.

Sources from among the diplomatic community who attended the briefing said it was excellent, very informative and well prepared.

All the diplomats who attended the briefing were very interested in the subject, the sources said. A source hailed the foreign secretary and the MEA for organizing the briefing for the Heads of Missions and Diplomatic community in a socially distant and safe environment.

At the briefing, Shringla said India is on track to develop the vaccines.

'We are exploring the possibility of conducting phase three trials in a few of our partner countries. We are also looking forward to research collaboration in the field of vaccine development. Based on willingness, we may also go for joint production of vaccines in some countries,' he said.

'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.

Talking about the COVID-19 infection in India, he said the daily caseload has reduced to below 50,000 from around 1,00,000 a few weeks ago.

'We remain vigilant though, and continue to devise and re-devise strategies based on our experiences across India,' he said.

Shringla said India's recovery rate is now 91.96 per cent (as on November 3, 2020) and case fatality rate has dropped to 1.49 per cent due to increase in testing numbers, contact tracing, effective isolation protocol, efficient use of hospital beds, increased availability of medical equipment, testing kits and sustained public awareness campaign.

'With progressively falling positivity rate, testing has worked as an effective tool to limit the spread of infection,' he said.

The MEA said since March 2020, India has proactively engaged with its partner countries in the joint fight against COVID-19 by supplying medicines, diagnostic kits and medical equipment as well as by organizing online training programmes for testing and case management.

The participants were also briefed by Dr. Vinod K Paul, Member, NITI Aayog; Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India; Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan; Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology; Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology; Dr. Shekhar Mande, Director General of Council for Scientific & Industrial Research; and Abhishek Singh, President & CEO of E-Governance Division of Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology. PTI ASK MPB RDM RDM