India, US to ink MoU for joint study on Covid-19

India, US to ink MoU for joint study on Covid-19, other infectious diseases

Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the development of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, ventilators

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the US Defence Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper during a meeting, in New Delhi. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and US Ambassador to India Ken Juster are also seen. Credit: PTI

India and the United States are set to step up cooperation in the healthcare sector, including collaboration in research on Covid-19 and the other infectious diseases.

As External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh joined the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Secretary of Defence Mark Esper for the India-America 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi on Tuesday, both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the development of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, ventilators and other essential medical equipment.

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They agreed to jointly promote access to high quality, safe, effective and affordable Covid-19 vaccines and treatments on a global scale, according to a joint statement issued after the 2+2 dialogue. They noted that bilateral engagement in the research and development and mass production of vaccines and therapeutics plays to the respective strengths of India and the US.

The 2+2 dialogue was the first high-level engagement between India and the US before the Covid-19 pandemic swept the two nations as well as the rest of the world.

The two sides agreed to negotiate and ink an overarching Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Government of India and the US Department of Health and Human Services, to enhance cooperation, including on emergencies and pandemics, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases as well as biomedical research and innovation.

They also agreed to work out and sign an MoU between the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID/NIH) to collaborate through an International Center of Excellence in Research focused on infectious diseases, including the Covid-19 and other emerging threats.

Noting the importance of health sector cooperation, they also looked forward to convening the India-US Health Dialogue soon.