America’s top infectious disease specialist Dr Anthony Fauci on Thursday said his country is eager to involve Indian investigators in global clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Covid-19 therapeutics. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has a long history of collaboration with its counterpart agencies in India, Dr Fauci said during a conversation organized by the US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum.
“Under the long-standing Indo-US vaccine action program, we will continue to work with India on research related to SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) vaccines. We also are eager to involve Indian investigators in sites in global clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of various COVID-19 therapeutics, he said. The partnerships between the NIH and India’s Department of Biotechnology and the Indian Council of Medical Research have helped produce important scientific and public health discoveries in the past. I am confident they will continue to do so in the future. India’s contributions to global scientific knowledge are well known to all. With strong governmental support and a vibrant biopharma private sector, this knowledge already is yielding solutions to COVID-19 prevention and care,” Dr Fauci said.
India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said as India ramps up vaccine production to cater to its needs and those of the world, it relies on the support of the United States in ensuring raw materials and component items are available in good supply. Observing that India-US health collaboration is not new, he said under the longstanding Vaccine Action Program between both nations, they developed a vaccine against rotavirus, which causes severe diarrhea in children. Indian companies have also manufactured, highly cost-effective HIV drugs for use in African countries, building on cooperation between US organizations and the private sector, he said.
“I think it’s important to understand when the US went through a crisis last year, it was India that kept up to support the US from critical medicine. And India is going through its own challenges, the US stepped up. So, it is a reciprocal partnership,” USISPF president Mukesh Aghi said.