Leaders of the US Congressional India Caucus on Friday urged President Joe Biden to send much-needed resources and healthcare supplies to save lives in India, amidst the coronavirus pandemic, in addition to asking that lives be prioritised over intellectual property ownership.
“We are watching a catastrophe unfold in India,” Indian American Congressman Ro Khanna said after the Caucus sent a letter to the president.
The letter has been signed by India Caucus Co-Chairs Congressmen Brad Sherman and Steve Chabot, in addition to its co-Vice Chairs Congressman Michael Waltz and Khanna.
“Someone is dying of COVID every four minutes in New Delhi. The least we can do is give the world the tools to prevent more deaths. We must do our part to quell the virus anywhere and everywhere it persists. It is not enough to vaccinate every American,” Khanna said.
“We need to ensure the world beats this thing. That’s why the India Caucus is asking President Biden to send more oxygen and other medical supplies to help India in the manufacturing of additional vaccines. There’s simply too much at stake,” Khanna said in a statement.
In the letter, the India Caucus leaders argued it is “in the US interest for everyone in India to be vaccinated. To the extent it is possible, we hope that you will work to provide India with vaccines. With this in mind, we welcome recently announced plans to make available sources of raw materials to help India manufacture more vaccines.”
“Further, we ask that you share with India surplus doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine as soon as possible. Finally, we also understand that India is eager to domestically produce high-quality US vaccines. We hope that you work with the private sector to assess how the US can best advance cooperation in this regard,” they said.
On Thursday, a White House spokesperson said the US will do whatever is it takes to end the pandemic. The official was responding to a question on what was the US government’s position ahead of a World Trade Organization meeting in Geneva next week where waiving of certain provisions of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for COVID-19 will be discussed.
Following the Caucus’ conversation with India”s Ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, its leadership asked that the US government provide India with oxygen cylinders, 10 liters and 45 liters Liquid Medical oxygen capacity, oxygen concentrators and oxygen generator plants.
In addition to oxygen and related systems, India also needs several other items including remdesivir, tocilizumab medicines, ventilators and BiPAP machines.
India on Friday logged 3,86,452 new coronavirus infections, the highest single-day rise so far, pushing the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 1,87,62,976, while active cases crossed the 31-lakh mark. The death count increased to 2,08,330 with 3,498 new fatalities.