Centre lobbied at WTO for access to foreign vaccines, but sat on licensing Covaxin for months

Is the delayed response to ramp up vaccine manufacturing by the Centre a cause why India is failing to well timed vaccinate its youth? India Today TV has realized that the Government of India tied up with South Africa in October final 12 months at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to suggest rest in norms to guarantee fast access to vaccines for growing nations.

On the opposite hand, the Centre took greater than six months to put its act collectively on the home entrance and shortlisted three PSUs solely by April 2021 for expertise switch of Covaxin, which has been developed by the Bharat Biotech and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

In October final 12 months, India had teamed up with South Africa to seek a waiver from sure provisions of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS Agreement) with a view to facilitating wider access to applied sciences mandatory for the manufacturing of vaccines and medicines.

In its attraction to the TRIPS Council, the Government of India had argued that mental property rights could hinder the fast scaling up of producing of reasonably priced vaccines and medicines to sufferers, significantly within the growing world.

Licensing at final

While the Centre lobbied to get its palms on foreign vaccines, it did little to ramp up the manufacturing of homegrown vaccine. Since Serum Institute of India’s Covishield was developed beneath the worldwide partnership, invoking obligatory licensing concerned legalities.

Also Read | Delhi runs dry of Covaxin stock for 18-44 age group, 100 centres to remain shut

However, there was no such difficulty with Covaxin. Serum Institute’s capability to manufacture 5 crore doses/month and Bharat Biotech’s 90 doses/month had been no match to India’s mammoth vaccine demand. But Centre didn’t invoke obligatory licensing to facilitate its switch of expertise to enable eligible corporations to produce the vaccine.

It was solely after Covid-19 instances began spiralling within the first week of April that the Modi authorities started placing its act collectively and shortlisted three PSUs by mid-April for expertise switch.

Haffkine Corporation, a state PSE beneath the Government of Maharashtra could have a capability of two crore doses/month by September. Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), Hyderabad, a facility beneath National Dairy Development Board and Bharat Immunologicals and Biologicals Limited (BIBCOL) Bulandshahr, beneath Department of Biotechnology, Government of India may also be supported to put together their facility to present 1-1.5 crore doses/month by August-September 2021.

CMs demand extra vaccine manufacturing

Over the previous 24 hours, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh chief ministers have appealed to the Prime Minister to enable non-public corporations to ramp up Covaxin manufacturing. In April, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had raised an analogous demand in his letter to PM Narendra Modi.

Also Read | Parliament panel had asked govt to ramp up vaccine production in March

Prof Gaurav Vallabh, Congress spokesperson advised India Today TV, “When the entire world was booking vaccines last year, our government was asking us to clap, our Prime Minister was saying we have defeated coronavirus. We have missed many trains and today if we increase capacity, it will not have an instant result. Due to this, we are seeing bodies floating in Ganga river today.”

Contesting the allegations, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra mentioned, “Biosafety level 3 is required to contain the virus, which is available with Bharat Biotech since the formula is based on an alive virus, ICMR is also in talks with few other companies to scale up production.”

Patra added, “The Centre has allocated Rs 200 crore for supporting the augmentation of capacities for manufacturing. India will be producing 10 crore Covaxin doses per month by end of this year.”

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