Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has expressed confidence that India's pharmaceutical industry will be able to produce COVID-19 vaccines not only for itself, but also for the world.
India's pharmaceutical industry will be able to produce COVID-19 vaccines not just for the country but also for the entire world, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has said.
A lot of "very important things have been done" in India and its pharmaceutical industry is doing work "to help make the coronavirus vaccine building on other great capacities that they have used for other diseases," said Gates, who is also the Co-Chair and Trustee of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Appearing in a documentary 'COVID-19: India's War Against The Virus', which will premiere on Discovery Plus on July 16, Gates said India also faces a huge challenge in terms of the health crisis because of its large size and population density in urban centres.
Commenting on the strength of India's pharmaceutical industry, Gates said: "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."
"But (there are) also 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," he added.
Stating that India joined the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a group working worldwide to build vaccines platforms, Gates said, "I am excited that the pharmaceutical industry there will be able to produce not just for India but also for the entire world. (This is) what we need to reduce the deaths and make sure we are immune, which is how we end the epidemic."
Gates said his foundation is also a "partner with the government, particularly with the department of biotechnology, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the office of the principal scientific advisor provide advice and help about getting these tools going".
Commenting on the deadly virus breaching India's borders in the documentary which was shot extensively during the period of lockdown, he said, "India is still at the beginning of this, but there's a lot of very important things have been done.
“It is a huge challenge with India because you've got a gigantic country. You've got your urban centers with a lot of density -- and so that -- drives the spread. You have people moving around."
However, he added: "Yet people are stepping up... Looking at how we reduce the spread while trying not to reduce food availability, equipment that people need."