Hyderabad, Feb 24 (PTI): Though the scientific achievement with regards to tackling COVID-19 pandemic is commendable, there was no global coordination on some of the issue and several countries did not abide by the framework put out by the Word Health Organisation, Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist of WHO said on Thursday.
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Speaking at a panel discussion as part of BioAsia 2022, she said though several high-end countries have completed vaccination to the extent of 90 per cent, some of the nations in Africa have completed only 10 per cent inoculation even as there was ease on vaccine supply side globally.
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“I think that while the scientific achievements have been absolutely outstanding, the fact that we have a vaccine in less than a year…Where we fell short was on really global coordination and harmonised ways of approaching the pandemic whether it is travel rules…That doesn’t help actually in the pandemic,” she said referring to the reaction to travel restrictions on South Africa when a new variant of COVID-19 was found.
The WHO chief scientist further said though the world has passed over the phase of acute supply shortage that was seen throughout 2021, the challenge is going to be massive as there are many countries which are not able to mount the kind of massive vaccination programmes.
She also said the WHO is working on scenarios where variant-proof vaccines are developed and suggested that there is a need for a distributed manufacturing network across the globe.
Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog who also participated in the panel discussion opined that the government needs to incentivise research and development and also sectors such as Biopharma in a big way to help India transition from a low value, high-volume play to a high-value, high-volume player in the global pharma market.
“We are examining ways to strengthen the system for and push for greater industry- academia collaborations. There is a need to promote innovation, global partnerships, and knowledge sharing amongst our scientific community,” he said.
Krishna Ella, chairman and managing director of Bharat Biotech International Limited said some of the regulatory processes should be simplified in order to act fast on product development.
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