The situation in India is heartbreaking as the pandemic is intensifying. India announced 323,144 new infections in late April, representing the sixth day with new infection numbers over 300,000 cases — the most in the world. The U.S. has been one of the countries that have pledged to send new vaccines to India. Additionally, to help those in need at hospitals, Gilead Sciences said that the company would donate its COVID-19 antiviral Veklury to India. The spread of the pandemic has led to volatility in the capital markets, especially forex trading in India.
The Pressure is on The World to Help
With the pandemic raging in India, there is pressure on its allies to help ease the situation. The White House said it expected that about 10 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine could be released when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finishes its review in the coming weeks. Since the drug is not yet approved, even its being used in India, the U.S. will not send it. While India waits, there are reports that another 50 million doses were in various stages of production. According to White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki the FDA officials still need to carry out quality checks on doses before they were exported.
An alternative that can help is the raw materials as opposed to the doses of the vaccine themselves. India has been producing the AstraZeneca Vaccine but has run short of the necessary materials to complete the medication. The U.S. has already announced that it will provide raw materials for Indian vaccine manufacturers as the country battles a devastating surge in cases.
In a phone call with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Biden promised more emergency assistance, including oxygen-related supplies, vaccine materials, and therapeutics. The White House is also looking to send Covid tests, personal protective equipment, and the antiviral drug remdesivir to India’s health service.
The United States seems to have extra supplies. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration has already authorized three vaccines against Covid- 19, including Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.
The Indian States Announce Free Shots
To ramp up India’s immunization campaign, more than 20 states have announced that they will provide free Covid-19 vaccines to their people. Many states, including Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana, Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal, and others, have decided to provide free vaccines. The rollout has been robust, but there are so many people in need of vaccines, and India is such a large country that the spread of the pandemic has outpaced the rollout of the vaccine. By late April, more than 140 million vaccines have been administered to people above 45.
Giliead Donates Doses
Gilead Sciences Inc. G said it would donate 450,000 doses of its COVID-19 antiviral Veklury to India, undergoing an unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases, illnesses, and deaths. Gilead will also provide technical support to its seven licensing partners in India that manufacture remdesivir. It will donate the active pharmaceutical ingredient used to make redmesivir, which is now called Veklury in the U.S.
The Bottom Line
The pandemic is surging in India, and the number of COVID cases is outpacing the rollout of the vaccine. Despite the donation of vaccines and the raw materials needed to make more vaccines, India is suffering, and citizens are experiencing heartache. Gilead announced that it would donate remdesivir, which will help those in the hospital recover if they are very sick. The upshot is that India will need the help of its allies to get the pandemic under control. As the vaccines continue to get administered, eventually India will experience herd immunity helping to eliminate the pain of the pandemic.