Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates believes the world's quest for a Covid vaccine could be answered by India.
The 64 year old billionaire in a documentary shot for Dicovery Plus - 'Covid 19: India's war against the Virus' praised India saying it was the place for a lot of "very important things" and that its pharmaceutical industry was doing work "to help make the coronavirus vacccine building on other great capacities that they have used for other diseases."
The co-chair and trustee of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also added that "India has a lot of capacity there -- with the drug and vaccine companies that are huge suppliers to the entire world. You know, more vaccines are made in India than anywhere-- starting with Serum Institute, that's the largest... Bio E, Bharat (Biotech), many others... They are doing work to help make the coronavirus vaccine, building on other great capacities that they have used for other diseases."
India joined the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a group working on a global basis to build vaccines platforms, he said, "I am excited that the pharmaceutical industry there will be able to produce not just for India but also for the entire world."
Elaborating on a way to end the epidemic, Gates said "we need to reduce the deaths and make sure we are immune, which is how we end the epidemic."
On Thursday, India ranked third on the global Covid cases table with a total of 9.68 lakh cases. Indian health authorities have claimed more cured/migrated cases and restricted deaths to a total of 24,915 of the global 5.84 lakh victims.
Indian pharmaceutical agencies such as Biocon, Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute have claimed moderate success in their vaccine development stages. Bharat Biotech's Covaxin vaccine has received approvals for human trials from July while SSI's Adar Poonawala in a recent interaction said that the Pune based research agency would take six months more for a vaccine.
India has already several drugs to treat severe cases. Biocon's Rs 7,950 priced Itolizumab has received the pharma-regulator's approval as an emergency-use injection to treat severe covid-19 vaccines. Glenmark's FabiPlu (generic name: Favipravir, manufactured by Japanese Fujifilm Toyama Chemical) priced at Rs 103 per tablet promises faster recovery with cliical trials showing faster viral load reduction.