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Omicron threat may decline by April-May: Mark Suzman

Praising India’s role in Covax, he said that the Covishield vaccines will be key going forward, to meet the objectives
Last Updated : 27 January 2022, 13:07 IST

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Mark Suzman, the CEO and the newly made board member of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said that he is hopeful that the threat of Omicron will subside by April-May for most countries including India.

In an interview with The Times of India, Suzman said that looking at the modellings done by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), the threat of Omicron will start to decline by April or May for most countries, but that monitoring needs to continue for other variants.

On being asked about vaccine inequality, he said that Covax was unable to meet its original commitments because vaccine supplies had been taken up by the larger countries for their own citizens. But, he added, that is improving, with Covax having recently distributed its one-billionth dose.

Praising India’s role in Covax, he said that the Covishield vaccines will be key going forward, to meet the objectives.

Mark Suzman added that they have been investing in mRNA factories in India and believes that mRNA would be able to tackle many diseases like malaria, HIV and tuberculosis, in addition to Covid and future pandemics. Going forward, he said that India as a long time leader in vaccine production will have a critical role in mRNA production. This was also discussed between Bill Gates and PM Modi at the COP26 in Glasgow, last year.

On India’s pandemic response, he lauded the vaccine programme launched and said that having administered 1.6 billion doses of vaccine is an impressive model for the rest of the world.

He added that some areas could use improvement such as the availability of oxygen and hopes to build on it to prepare for future threats.

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Published 27 January 2022, 10:59 IST

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