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India and UK launch virtual vaccine hub for cooperation on clinical trials and regulatory approvals

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India and the UK launched a virtual vaccine hub on Wednesday to facilitate the delivery of vaccines for Covid-19 and other viruses and to foster cooperation between experts in clinical trials and regulatory approvals.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced the launch of the center, aimed at protecting people in both countries by enhancing cooperation in the development and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and better aligning the international regulation of vaccines.

The center will also foster partnerships to develop innovative “moon shots” that can define vaccine delivery over the next decade. It will enable British and Indian experts to share knowledge on clinical trials and regulatory approvals and get vaccines to the people who need them most in a safe and energy efficient way.

The Serum Institute of India plans to launch more than 1 billion doses of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. Unlike other doses, it can be stored at the normal temperature of the refrigerator, which facilitates and lowers its production, storage and distribution.

Raab said: “This partnership between the Serum Institute and the University of Oxford demonstrates the best relationship between the UK and India – a vaccine developed in the UK and manufactured in India, bringing together our brightest minds to save lives. as a global force for good.

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“A global pandemic requires a global solution. Scientific cooperation has made progress on coronavirus vaccines at a record pace and the UK-India vaccine center will now build on these innovations to end this crisis and protect us all against future pandemics. “

Millions of doses produced by the Serum Institute will also be distributed to the world’s poorest people through the COVAX initiative, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Gavi, the vaccine alliance.

India and the UK also announced a new memorandum of understanding between the Central Medicines Standards Control Organization (CDSCO) and the UK Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency on more frequent discussions on bilateral vaccine and pharmaceutical regulations, improving standards and sharing information to control trade. of unlicensed products.

Raab, who met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday to discuss a 10-year roadmap for bilateral cooperation and collaboration on the Covid-19 vaccine, praised the Indian government’s commitment to equitable global access to vaccines. He also visited a Delhi health clinic where the AstraZeneca vaccine will be administered.

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The UK has worked to achieve equitable access to the Covid-19 vaccine and has committed up to £ 619 million to COVAX to ensure both UK access to vaccines and to distribute doses around the world.

India supplies more than 50 percent of the world’s vaccines and 25 percent of the generic drugs for the UK’s National Health Service. Closer cooperation between the UK and India on drug and vaccine approval will ensure rapid access for the UK to pharmaceuticals produced in India and help safeguard supplies for the NHS.

Raab also met with the Union’s education minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal, and agreed to work on the mutual recognition of academic qualifications, starting with master’s degrees, over the next year. It welcomed the signing of a new agreement between the University of Edinburgh and Gujarat to open a new biotechnology university in the state in July 2021. This will be the first foreign university collaboration of its kind in India.

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