India’s vaccine production will come to a halt soon unless US supplies critical items

Photo: Aaquib Fayaz/Maktoob

India’s COVID-19 vaccine production lines will halt within weeks if the United States does not provide 37 crucial items.

According to The Economist, India’s vaccine ambitions are at risk from American export controls on raw materials and equipment.

The United States had in February invoked the Defence Production Act, which helped the US pharmaceutical firms procure the material they needed to augment vaccine production. But under the same act, the firms need permission to export raw materials.

The US government can stop the companies from exporting them, The Economist reported.

Last week, Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker by volume, had requested US President Joe Biden to lift the embargo on the export of raw materials.

The Serum is currently producing Covishield, the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. The vaccine is being used in India, and has been supplied to several other countries.

Serum Institute’s Executive Director Suresh Jadhav told The Economist that the production of the two vaccines will be affected in the next few weeks.

India’s vaccine production lines are now making at least 160 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine a month.

The US export restrictions would also hit vaccine producers in Europe, who need to import special bags from the US in which they make their products.