NEW DELHI: A vaccine for Covid-19 is expected early next year and of the six leading ones which are undergoing trials probably three of them will work, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has said asserting that India has a huge role to play in scaling up manufacturing for these.
“If they succeed in their phase three, which is still underway, we want to be able to ramp up that manufacturing capacity,” Gates, who is the co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation told TOI in an interview over Skype.
Gates said India will play a major role in manufacturing these vaccines in high numbers as several vaccine companies in the country have the capacity to ramp up production.
“And, of course, India has a huge role to play in that. Because the highest volume vaccine manufacturers in the world, who have done a fantastic job, and partnered with us on many of these life-saving vaccines — including Serum, BioE, Bharat (Biotech) — they have capacity. We have been in lots of conversations with the companies, with the vaccines that look like they will be low-cost and very scalable, including AstraZeneca, Novavax — Sanofi — and Johnson and Johnson,” said Gates.
He said the progress on reducing poverty across the world would be set back by a few years due to the pandemic and if all countries cooperate and the world is lucky to have some good vaccines health systems could recover fast.
“If we do a brilliant job, we end the pandemic in 2022 — if we are lucky to have a lot of good vaccines that are made in volume, I am sure the health system should be able to get back fairly quickly.
“We’ll have to do catch up vaccination. But the economic damage — particularly in countries that couldn’t borrow huge additional sums, like some of the rich countries — will have big setbacks. …Some of the extreme poverty type things could take us five to ten years to get back to where we were at the start of 2020,” said Gates.