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US Development Finance Corporation chief to visit India to boost vaccine manufacturing

The United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is a state-run development finance institution, which invests in development projects primarily in lower- and middle-income countries.

October 16, 2021 / 09:21 AM IST
Sputnik V vaccine.  HAZEM BADER / AFP

Sputnik V vaccine. HAZEM BADER / AFP

The head of the US International Development Finance Corporation would be visiting India later this month as part of the Quad's efforts to boost vaccine manufacturing.

The United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is a state-run development finance institution, which invests in development projects primarily in lower- and middle-income countries.

Leading a high-powered delegation, DFC Chief Operating Officer (COO) David Marchick would travel to India from October 24 to 26.

In Hyderabad, the delegation will visit the offices of the Indian vaccine manufacturer Biological E and participate in a signing ceremony to open a new facility with substantial capacity for vaccine manufacturing, an official release said.

“This work is in support of the historic commitment set out by President (Joe)Biden and his counterparts in the 'Quad' – Australia, India, Japan and the United States," the DFC said in a statement.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Marchick would travel to India after his visit to South Africa beginning October 18. The travel to South Africa and India is to advance DFC investments helping boost global health and expand COVID-19 vaccine production capacity throughout the developing world.

DFC Vice President of Development Credit Jim Polan and other DFC senior staff will accompany the COO.

During the South Africa tour, the DFC delegation will visit Africa Data Centres, a DFC client that is developing and expanding critical technology infrastructure throughout Africa. The delegation will tour the sterile facilities of Aspen Pharmacare, Africa’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer, in Gqeberha (formally known as Port Elizabeth), as well as meet with other pharmaceutical manufacturers critical to the COVID-19 response, a media release said.

“Since day one of the Biden administration, President Biden has stated that the only way to defeat COVID-19 is to end the pandemic both at home and abroad by vaccinating Americans at home and non-Americans abroad,” the DFC said.

The US has committed to donate 1.1 billion doses of Covid vaccines worldwide and has already shipped nearly 200 million doses to developing countries – more doses than the rest of the world combined, it said.
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