Infectious Diseases Society of America applauds Biden for COVID-19 aid to India

Lalit K Jha
·2-min read

Washington, Apr 29 (PTI) America's largest group of physicians, scientists and public health experts specialising in infectious diseases has applauded the Biden administration for providing medical aid for India to combat COVID-19.

This shows an important commitment to tackling the pandemic as a shared crisis, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) said on Wednesday.

Commending the administration for this and also for its plans to share up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the society said the moves promise a renewed American leadership in combating global infectious diseases.

'As societies of physicians, pharmacists, scientists, public health professionals and other health providers working to prevent, detect and respond to infectious diseases, we thank President Biden for providing direction and resources for the work ahead,' it said in a press statement.

The IDSA said that the enormity of the pandemic’s impacts in India and other countries around the world shows that more comprehensive and proactive measures are needed to confront this humanitarian crisis.

The scope of continued COVID-19 spread worldwide, including in countries with limited health resources in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, as well as inadequate and inequitable vaccine uptake in the United States are among those challenges, it said.

Ending this pandemic and its wide-ranging harms to public health will require sustained support for vaccination, testing, surveillance, viral sequencing and treatment wherever the impacts of COVID-19 are felt, including in those regions of the world where the impacts exceed available resources, the society said.

Continued US support for COVAX, the global initiative to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, and the donation of excess vaccine doses remain pivotal to stopping the spread of the virus. Ensuring that vaccines get off shelves and into arms where the virus is spreading is a matter of global solidarity and national self-interest, it added.

The society said that the United States also needs to bolster resources at home to enable increased monitoring and testing of travellers returning from India and other countries experiencing surges of viral transmission, including sequencing of any positive specimens to identify viral variants.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that while US leadership of global health security efforts is essential, resources allocated to those efforts have been inadequate, the society observed.

Until all countries have laboratory monitoring and surveillance capacities as well as the trained staff and equipment necessary to detect and respond swiftly to emerging infectious threats, the US will remain vulnerable, the IDSA said.

“The pandemic also has underscored the urgency with which we must accelerate global progress against other infectious diseases including HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and preventable childhood diseases such as measles, as well as antimicrobial resistance. Investment in worldwide public health infrastructures is a moral and practical imperative,' it said. PTI LKJ IJT