India's position among the world's leading manufacturers of vaccines plays an important role in fighting the global battle against coronavirus, said Dr Anthony S Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the U.S.
Fauci made the remarks on Thursday, during the International Symposium on Novel Ideas in Science and Ethics of Vaccines against COVID-19 pandemic, organised by the Indian Council Of Medical Research (ICMR), attended by various epidemiologists and virologists.
"India's private sector also has a very important role to play as the world's leading manufacturer of vaccines and, as effective COVID-19 vaccines emerge from our research efforts, this manufacturing capability is going to be very, very important," Dr Fauci as quoted by The Indian Express.
"Moving forward, we and other (US National Institutes of Health) institutes will continue to work with Indian counterparts and colleagues to assure Indian scientists and Indian impressive research and development capacity are integrated into the global efforts to address the COVID-19 vaccine," he added.
India's biotechnology department has a partnership of more than 30 years with NIAID through the Indo-US Vaccine Action Plan (VAP), and this has played a primary role in monitoring the country's research and development (R&D) efforts in vaccine development, Fauci said.
The NIAID head further listed down three aspects that can help reduce the delay between the manufacturing and trial of vaccines - from harmonising data motoring, to get regulatory approvals and financial aid from the government to help in scaling up production of vaccines.
As of now, there are seven companies from India, which are in the race for developing the COVID-19 vaccine.
While discussing the kind of trials for vaccine approvals that have been a matter of huge debate lately, Dr Fauci raised his opinion against human trials. As the volunteers are deliberately exposed to the virus, this leads to unnecessarily high risks of contracting COVID-19.
However, many experts on the panel disagreed with Fauci's reasoning. Prof Adrian Hill of Oxford University, one of the research members of Serum Institute of India said that therapies and medicines that are currently being considered as alternatives for COVID-19 treatment including Convalescent Plasma and Remedesivir need human trials to observe their efficacy.