Millennium Post (Kolkata)

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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