Published: 05th January 2021
Bill Gates hails India's leadership in scientific innovation, vaccine manufacturing
The Microsoft founder had previously written to PM Modi hailing the Indian government's utilisation of its digital capabilities in its COVID-19 response
US business magnate, philanthropist, and co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates on Tuesday applauded India's effort in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. He also hailed India's leadership in scientific innovation and vaccine manufacturing capability. "It's great to see India's leadership in scientific innovation and vaccine manufacturing capability as the world works to end the COVID-19 pandemic," he tweeted, tagging PMO India in the post.
The Microsoft founder had previously written to PM Modi hailing the Indian government's utilisation of 'its exceptional digital capabilities in its COVID-19 response and launched the Aarogya Setu digital app for coronavirus tracking, contact tracing, and to connect people to health services'. "We commend your leadership and the proactive measures you and your government have taken to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 infection rate in India, such as adopting a national lockdown, expanding focused testing to identify hot spots for isolation, quarantining, and care, and significantly increasing health expenditures to strengthen the health system response and promote R&D and digital innovation," Gates had written in April 2020.
Meanwhile, earlier today Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also lauded India's action and its resolve to end the Covid-19 pandemic as the largest vaccine producer of the world. Lauding the efforts of PM Modi in the fight against the pandemic, he wrote, "If we #ACTogether, we can ensure effective & safe vaccines are used to protect the most vulnerable everywhere @narendramodi".
On Monday, PM Modi pointed out that the world's largest Covid-19 vaccination programme is also going to start in India and that the CSIR and other institutions are working together came together to face every challenge and find solutions for new situations. "For this, the country is very proud of the contribution of its scientists. Today is also the day to remember the time when our scientific institutions, all of you, worked day and night together to develop the vaccine to defeat Covid," he added.
Speaking at the inauguration of National Atomic Timescale and Bhartiya Nirdeshak Dravya, via video conferencing on Monday, PM Modi said, "Indian scientists have been successful in coming up with two 'Made in India' COVID19 vaccines. The country is proud of its scientists," he added.
India has one of the largest vaccine manufacturing capacities in the world (including the largest vaccine producer - Serum Institute of India) and has secured authorisation to mass-produce the AstraZeneca, Novavax and Gamaleya Research Institute vaccines. With a population of 1.3 billion (and 94 million over 65-year-olds), the domestic vaccination drive will be the largest in the world. The country has a good track record of such drives with masses of the population regularly gaining inoculation for various diseases such as polio and cholera.
India's vaccine rollout will begin with frontline healthcare workers and individuals over the age of 50 years gaining priority. The government aims to vaccinate some 250 million people over six-to-eight months