India, US collaborating on combating COVID-19: Sandhu

India and US collaborating on combating COVID-19: Ambassador Sandhu

Taranjit Singh Sandhu

India and the US are working together on combating the deadly coronavirus and collaboration is underway in the areas of diagnostics and therapeutics of the disease, which so far has taken the lives of more than 20,000 people globally, according to the Indian envoy here.

The deadly coronavirus that first emerged in China's Wuhan city has drastically spread around the world, infecting 471,518 people and causing 21,293 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker.

"In the present context of COVID-19 pandemic, close collaboration in the areas of diagnostics and therapeutics of the disease is underway,” India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu told PTI.

"India and the United States have had a long-standing productive partnership in the healthcare sector, especially between the research institutions and industries of both countries,” he said.

Under the existing bilateral collaboration in healthcare sector- the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease in the US shared the important reagents with the Translational Health Science Technology Institute in Gurgaon.

Such cooperation is expected to play a big role in developing new therapeutics and testing reagents for the COVID-19.

In addition, India-based vendors of American companies are in touch with the Indian Council of Medical Research to engage and enhance the capabilities for COVID-19 test in India.


"The US will work shoulder to shoulder with India to combat the COVID19 outbreak. Together, we can safeguard our citizens and people everywhere," Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Alice G Wells, said in a tweet referring to the cooperation between the two countries.

The United States, she said, stands united with India and echoes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to keep up their fighting spirits.

Cooperation and collaboration in the sector of coronavirus was also discussed between the two countries when President Donald Trump met Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi last month.

Trump and Modi also hailed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that seeks to promote access to high quality, safe, effective, and affordable medications for US and Indian consumers.

In 2012, the Center for Disease Control collaborated with National Centre for Disease Control to establish Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Programme.

This post-graduate field-training programme, modelled after the CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), has expanded to two additional hubs at the WHO India Country Office and at the India Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Epidemiology.

According to the CDC, it has helped strengthen national surveillance for detecting and responding to healthcare associated infections and emerging antimicrobial resistance threats in health facilities in 22 states.

A public-private partnership helped increase capacity to diagnose, treat, and care for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) patients through virtual platforms. In Mumbai, the CDC helped the municipality and local partners, launch an Airborne Infection Control Unit to reduce healthcare-associated transmission of MDR-TB.

The CDC has helped India in implementing a surveillance system in 35 hospitals and 22 states for healthcare associated infections. It has evaluated 346 laboratory facilities across the country to identify needs and trained more than 1,700 laboratorians on quality diagnostic testing/reporting of priority diseases.

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