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National News

Sep 16, 2020
8:18AM

India's role in manufacture & supply of COVID-19 vaccine will be critical: Bill Gates

File Pic: PTI
The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has said India's willingness to play a "big role" in manufacturing COVID-19 vaccine and allow it to supply to other developing countries will be a critical part in containing the pandemic globally.
 
He said the world is looking to India for large scale production of COVID-19 vaccine once it is rolled out.
 
In an exclusive interview to a news agency, Gates, whose foundation is focusing on fighting the pandemic, called it the "next biggest thing" the world has been confronted with after the World War.
 
Scientists and pharmaceutical companies globally are racing against time to find a vaccine for the coronavirus pandemic which has killed about 9,32,000 people and infected around 24 million.
 
Some of the vaccine candidates have entered the third and final phase of testing.
 
Gates said India will be helping to make sure we have equity. We have a model that shows that getting the vaccine out to those who need it the most will save half the lives that you'd lose if you only send it out to the rich countries.
 
In the telephonic interview,  the Microsoft co-founder talked extensively about India's strength in production of vaccines and referred to companies like Serum Institute, Bio E and Bharat Biotech.
 
Gates also said that his foundation has been having "great discussions" with India's NITI-Aayog, adding the ICMR is looking at the regulatory aspects of the COVID-19 vaccines.
 
He said the focus should be to keep the cost of the vaccines low and it should be ensured that they can be made in very high volume.
 
Gates also complimented India's digital cash transfer scheme.
 
Getting payments through digital cash transfers, that has been a fantastic thing, and obviously, India has done that at a scale that no other country ever has," he said.
 
"The whole Aadhaar digital financial system in India has proven to be once again a huge asset," he said, adding it can be extended to all the countries of the world.

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