Mark Suzman says India likely to make a ‘very large portion’ of Covid-19 vaccines

INDIA is likely to manufacture a very large portion of Covid-19 vaccines through its strong and robust private sector partners, a top official of a global firm said.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman has added that India is doing everything it can right now with the resources at hand to fight the pandemic.

“We all are hopeful that next year some of these vaccines should come out. A very large portion of these are likely to be manufactured in India through the strong and robust Indian private sector partners and then that will be the key area to focus on in the next phase of the Covid pandemic,” he told PTI.

While underlining the need to have equitable global distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, Suzman pointed out that the firm is doing everything to make sure that the developing countries will be able to have access to the vaccine at the same time and at the same volumes as wealthy countries.

“We have been providing support, so called upstream, or research and development. We work with this organization, CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation, which has been a leading partner in investing in the potential vaccines. We have developed something called a therapeutic accelerator which has raised over $125 million to help find treatments that are going to be effective against Covid,” he said.

“We are strong supporters of the global effort, which India is part of, called COVAX, which is a multilateral initiative to procure vaccines at scale and then distribute them through the GAVI vaccine alliance to countries including India.”

He said the biggest learning from the pandemic is that at all levels, global, regional, national, there needs to be a permanent infrastructure in place that is prepared and ready to go which will keep the world much better prepared for the next one, which will come.

Responding to a question on how the Grand Challenges platform is relevant for the current pandemic situation, Suzman said some of the networks and groups of scientists that joined the Grand Challenges are working hard on many aspects of Covid-19.

The Grand Challenges India was set up as a partnership of the Department of Biotechnology in India, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2012, and Wellcome also joined the partnership.

It works across a range of health and developmental priorities ranging from agriculture, nutrition, sanitation, maternal and child health to infectious diseases.