Sunday 25 October 2020

Bill Gates: Korean firm could make 200 million COVID vaccines by June

New Delhi: SK Bioscience, the South Korean pharmaceutical company backed by Bill Gates, may be capable of producing 200 million coronavirus vaccine kits by next June, the Microsoft Corp. co-founder said in a letter to South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Gates is seeking to cooperate closely with South Korea, the presidential office in Seoul said Sunday, citing the 20 July letter. The US billionaire and Moon spoke by phone in April about teaming up to fight the virus and develop a vaccine, the Blue House said in a text message.

The world is in a race to develop a vaccine that could protect masses against a virus that has wreaked havoc on the global economy. Gates has said investment in factories across the world can ensure regions beyond the US won’t be left behind in the rush for COVID-19 vaccines.

India capable of producing vaccines for world: Gates

Earlier, Bill Gates has claimed the Indian pharmaceutical industry will be able to produce COVID-19 vaccines not just for the country but also for the entire world.

A lot of “very important things have been done” in India and its pharma industry is doing work “to help make the coronavirus vaccine building on other great capacities that they have used for other diseases”, said the Co-Chair and Trustee of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The statement made for a Discovery Plus documentary ‘COVID-19: India’s War Against The Virus’. In the documentary, Gates also said that India faces a huge challenge due to the health crisis due to its gigantic size and urban centres with a lot of population density. The documentary was shot after the coronavirus breached Indian boundaries.

Commenting on the strength of India’s pharma industry, he said, “India has a lot of capacity there — with the drug and vaccine companies that are huge suppliers to the entire world. You know, more vaccines are made in India than anywhere– starting with Serum Institute, that’s the largest.”

He further said, “But (there are) also Bio E, Bharat (Biotech), many others. They are doing work to help make the coronavirus vaccine, building on other great capacities that they have used for other diseases.”

Stating that India joined Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which is a group working on a global basis to build vaccines platforms, Gates said, “I am excited that the pharmaceutical industry there will be able to produce not just for India but also for the entire world. (This is) What we need to reduce the deaths and make sure we are immune, which is how we end the epidemic.”

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