The US is considering joint development of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine in India, as well as ways to assist manufacturers such as the Serum Institute of India (SII) in increasing production, according to Daniel B Smith, the US embassy’s Charge D’Affaires.
Smith also mentioned that the efficacy of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which is manufactured in Baltimore, is still unknown and the Food and Drug Administration has not yet certified that the doses are available for anyone’s use or for export.
Smith, a career diplomat who previously worked as acting secretary of state, was assigned acting head of the US mission in New Delhi last month to oversee the Biden administration’s efforts to assist India in dealing with a devastating second wave of the pandemic, which has seen daily infection rates rise well beyond the 350,000 mark over many days.
Last month, the White House announced that the United States intends to distribute 60 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine with the rest of the world as soon as they become available, with India receiving a large portion of the total inventory.
In addition to partnering with SII and other Indian vaccine manufacturers to increase production, the United States is considering joint production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in India and promoting private sector discussions to increase production.
“I know [the US International] Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is looking at how we can invest so that we can help produce the Johnson & Johnson vaccine here in India,” Smith said.