They discussed proposed pacts on enhancing health cooperation and research

India and the United States are looking forward to signing several Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on health cooperation given the fact that India happens to be the biggest producer of vaccines in the world. India expects a COVID-19 vaccine by early 2021 with vaccines candidates showing positive results.

India and the US held the third 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi on October 27. India welcomed the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper who met with their counterparts External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

Many agreements were discussed during the meeting which included proposed agreements on enhancing health cooperation and research on infectious diseases, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a joint statement thereafter.

According to the joint statement, the ministers discussed to close an agreement on between India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including their component agencies and departments, to enhance health cooperation, including on health emergencies and pandemics, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases, and biomedical research and innovation.

The Ministers also looked forward to the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD/NIH), the statement said.

Once signed, the MoU will help to collaborate through an International Center of Excellence in Research focused on infectious diseases including COVID-19 and other emerging threats.

Apart from that, the sides decided to convene the India-US Health dialogue at an early date.

Now, India has always been an important country for the rest of the countries in terms of healthcare, especially in the times of COVID-19 provided that India is the biggest producer of vaccines in the world.

In fact, Drug Controller General of India has already given its nod to Bharat Biotech’s vaccine candidate Covaxin to enter the Phase-3 clinical trials. Another indigenous vaccine ZyCOV-D by Cadila will be finishing its phase-2 trails soon.

The Covishield vaccine also known as the Oxford vaccine developed jointly by the British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and the Pune based Serum Institute of India (SII) will be completing its phase-3 trials soon.

The Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan also said that India might expect a vaccine by early 2021 in the Group of Ministers meeting held recently. Prime Minister Modi also promised India’s capacity of producing vaccines to be used for greater good of humanity.

Nevertheless, India has always gained praise for its efforts in helping other nations at the time of crisis, especially during COVID-19.

During the 2+2 dialogue also, the US expressed appreciation for India’s export of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), essential medicines, and therapeutics to the United States during these challenging times. India on the other hand, expressed appreciation for the 200 ventilators provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to the Indian Red Cross Society.

The Ministers reiterated to strengthen cooperation in the development of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, ventilators and other essential medical equipment, the joint statement said. The sides also sought to jointly promote access to high quality, safe, effective and affordable COVID-19 vaccines and treatments on a global scale, it said further.