SII CEO urges US to lift raw material export ban

Mumbai: Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on Friday said the US needs to lift its embargo on raw material exports to help ramp up vaccine production.

SII is currently manufacturing anti-coronavirus vaccine Covishield, developed by Astrazeneca and Oxford University. The vaccine is not only being used in India, but exported to a number of countries.

Poonawalla had earlier admitted that SII has been facing problems in sending out required number of batches of vaccines due to the bureaucratic and government-related hurdles.

Tagging the twitter handle of the President of the United States, Poonawalla said in a tweet, "Respected @POTUS, if we are to truly unite in beating this virus, on behalf of the vaccine industry outside the U.S., I humbly request you to lift the embargo of raw material exports out of the U.S. so that vaccine production can ramp up. Your administration has the details."

Earlier in March, Poonawalla had said that the production of coronavirus vaccines and scaling up global availability could be seriously limited due to the ban on exports of critical raw materials by the US.

Speaking at an event organised by the World Bank in March, Poonawalla had said one of the constraints that needs to be addressed but nobody is able to address so far is the availability of critical items from the US.

"...There are lot of bags and filters and critical items that manufacturers need. I will give you an example. The Novavax vaccine that we are a major manufacturer of, need these items from the US...Now the US has chosen to invoke the Defence Act, in which there is a sub-clause which prevents the export of critical raw materials required for their local vaccine manufacturers," he had said.

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