Where the development of vaccines takes several years before they are made available for clinical use, today, the coronavirus pandemic has compelled researchers and labs to race against time to get a vaccine ready as soon as possible. Currently, over 44 vaccines are under clinical trials across the world while the research still continues for around 92 more vaccines. Thus, for now, people have been resorting to the medications and treatments that are available.
With that said, Indian pharmaceutical companies have been and will possibly continue to play an important role in the global fight against the pandemic. Being one of the largest producers of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine that is also known to treat covid-19 patients, in the past few months, India has witnessed a surge in demand. Indian Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu said that the country has exported the drug to over 50 countries.
One of the main reasons why the role of Indian pharmaceutical companies, in our fight against pandemic cannot be overstated, is the fact that India is among the global leaders in producing low cost medicines. Moreover, a strategic partnership between India and the US can also potentially address a wide range of challenges and help the world in its fight against covid-19. For instance, owing to the bilateral cooperation between the two countries, rotavirus vaccine was developed that has saved millions of lives against rotavirus infections. Similarly, should they work more closely together during the times of the current pandemic, they can take the potential of global health sector to new heights.
Recently, American research-based bio-pharmaceutical company Gilead has granted non-exclusive licensing agreements to Indian pharmaceutical companies to produce a generic form of remdesivir. Once produced, the therapeutic drug will be made available to around 127 low and middle income countries. As far as the economic health is concerned, the two countries have taken up the initiative of offering debt relief to the world’s poorest countries. While covid-19 is in itself a challenge, the other problems that have been engendering from it is also something that need to be direly addressed.