US development bank to assist India's Biological E for Quad Vaccine Partnership

  • The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has announced it will “finance increased capacity to support Biological E’s effort to produce at least 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of 2022”
U.S. President Joe Biden listens during a virtual Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) meeting on Friday.(Bloomberg)
U.S. President Joe Biden listens during a virtual Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) meeting on Friday.(Bloomberg)
Updated on Mar 13, 2021 01:28 PM IST
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ByRezaul H Laskar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The US development bank will assist India’s biopharmaceutical company Biological E to produce one billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines to be rolled out by the end of 2022 under the ambitious new vaccine partnership unveiled at the first Quad Summit.

The four countries agreed on Friday to pool their financial resources, manufacturing capacities and logistical strengths to ramp up manufacture and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines across the region as part of efforts to boost post-pandemic recovery.

The initiative will create additional manufacturing capacities in India, the world’s largest producer of vaccines, to make doses developed in the US, including the Johnson & Johnson candidate. This will be done with financing from the US and Japan.

Australia will help overcome last mile and logistical delivery issues and assist in delivering the vaccines to countries in Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Islands.

The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has announced it will “finance increased capacity to support Biological E’s effort to produce at least 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of 2022”.

This will be done with Stringent Regulatory Authorization (SRA) and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Emergency Use Listing.

The move is part of DFC’s Global Health and Prosperity Initiative, under which it is increasing manufacturing, production and distribution capacity for vaccines.

The Quad Vaccine Partnership was seen as the most significant deliverable of the first summit of the leaders of India, Australia, Japan and the US. Observers believe the move will help counter China’s influence across the Indo-Pacific while at the same time signalling that the Quad is evolving from a group that only discusses strategic approaches to cooperating in definite areas.

DFC chief operating officer David Marchick said, “It is hard to conceive of an investment with a greater developmental impact than using our financial tools to increase the capacity of vaccine manufacturing to help developing countries in Asia and around the world respond to Covid-19 and other diseases.”

He added, “Expanding vaccine manufacturing, especially the Covid-19 vaccine and boosters, will help increase vaccination rates and protect communities around the world.”

Partnering with Biological E, which is a woman-run business, will also advance DFC’s “2X Women’s Initiative” to promote global gender equity.

Mahima Datla is currently the managing director of Biological E, which was founded in 1953, and became the first Indian private sector company to enter the vaccines business in 1962. The firm launched commercial operations in the US in 2019.

TheDFC is also working to strengthen the vaccine supply chain and last mile logistics for distribution. Under its Global Health and Prosperity Initiative, DFC will invest between $5 million and $500 million on eligible projects, including equity and debt financing, political risk insurance and technical development.

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Sunday, November 28, 2021