US President Joe Biden (file photo) Photograph:( AFP )
National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said US officials were 'working around the clock' to deploy available resources and supplies to help India manufacture the Covishield vaccine and tend to the millions of Indians who are sick and dying
US President Joe Biden said on Sunday that the country will immediately send raw materials for COVID-19 vaccines, medical equipment, and protective gear to help India respond to a massive surge in coronavirus infections.
Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need. https://t.co/SzWRj0eP3y— President Biden (@POTUS) April 25, 2021
National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said US officials were "working around the clock" to deploy available resources and supplies to help India manufacture the Covishield vaccine and tend to the millions of Indians who are sick and dying.
The United States will also send therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits and ventilators.
Washington was under mounting pressure to help India, the world's largest democracy, after Britain, France and Germany pledged aid over the weekend.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged all citizens to be vaccinated and exercise caution, as the country set a global record for new COVID-19 infections in a single day.
The United States was also pursuing options to provide India with oxygen generation and related supplies, Horne said.
US Representative Ro Khanna, Democratic vice-chair of the Congressional India Caucus, welcomed the announcement but urged Biden to go further and give India the United States' unused COVID-19 vaccine doses from AstraZeneca Plc.
"Let's use the US military and get as much oxygen and AstraZeneca doses to India as fast as we can," he said.
The top US infectious disease official, Dr Anthony Fauci, told ABC News on Sunday such a move was "something that certainly is going to be actively considered."
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has directed the Pentagon to provide all necessary support to Indian healthcare workers battling the worsening coronavirus situation in the country.
Horne said the United States would send a team of experts to work with India from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and US Agency for International Development.
In addition to the immediate aid, the US Development Finance Corporation will fund a substantial expansion of manufacturing capability for Indian vaccine maker Biological E Ltd, or BioE, enabling the company to produce at least 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.
(With inputs from agencies)