‘India’s contribution to Covid vaccines has been tremendous’: CEPI chief.

Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) who is on a visit to India, spoke to HT about the country gaining attention globally by manufacturing and developing anti-Covid vaccines in less than a year, and lessons learnt from the pandemic.

What brings you to India, and how to you see India’s role in global heath care?

We already have a number of partnerships in India, and we are eager to deepen them, both government and private — be it ICMR, DBT or Serum Institute, and other partners. We are excited about the opportunities that India has through G20 to play an important leadership role. We are having meetings with several government departments to talk about Indian priorities and our perception of what the opportunities might be, and how we can support. There are many opportunities for global investments that are about to be made by governments around the world. Hopefully we will all come together to make better vaccines, better therapeutics, and better diagnostics.

Did the fact that India developed and produced Covid vaccines in less than a year catch global attention?

Absolutely! India’s contributions in terms of overall production to the world has been tremendous. And it wasn’t just one company — there was Serum Institute of India), Bharat Biotech, Biological E — there were multiple home-grown successes in India. But there’s the other thing that catches my attention at least is that India is uniquely positioned when it comes to credibility in speaking to countries outside of the global north. It also brings tremendous amount of capability in scientific and industrial might together.

What lessons have been learnt from the pandemic?

There are lots of insights to be derived from the pandemic. We made tremendous advances scientifically. One thing that really worked well during the pandemic was global scientific collaborations; we also had a number of technologies that were validated for the first time particularly in the vaccine space, be it mRNA technology, new approaches to develop protein based vaccines etc. These were not overnight successes; these had been brewing but had never crossed the finish line. We were able to respond as quickly as we did was also proof of concept for an approach to preparedness, and not just because of the technology but because of the prior investment in understanding how to make countermeasures against coronaviruses.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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