World Failed to Help India in Covid Crisis: US Chief Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci

“Because we’re all in this together. It’s an interconnected world"

Fauci
Anthony Fauci

As India battles it worst Covid-19 crisis, the superpowers of the world, US and UK have refused to waive patent rights for COVID Vaccines and treatments. This move has brought severe criticism from the world all over as rich countries hoard much of the vaccine supply leaving the people of the poorer countries to die for lack of vaccines.

Today, White House’s chief medical advisor Dr Anthony Fauci also remarked that rich countries have failed to stop the “terrible and tragic situation” in India by focusing on themselves during Covid.

Fauci has said countries across the world have failed to provide an adequate global support to help India fight the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and the rich countries should assume more responsibilities to lend a helping hand.

“The only way that you’re going to adequately respond to a global pandemic is by having a global response, and a global response means equity throughout the world,” Dr. Fauci told the Guardian Australia.

He added, “And that’s something that, unfortunately, has not been accomplished. Often when you have diseases in which there is a limited amount of intervention, be it therapeutic or prevention, this is something that all the countries that are relatively rich countries or countries that have a higher income have to pay more attention to.”

Referring to “countries that are relatively rich”, the chief medical adviser said many countries were already aware of what needed to be done to fight Covid, but that it was failing.

It includes the Covaxx initiative run by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is trying to secure Covid vaccines and treatments for less wealthy countries – relying on donations from richer countries.

“We have to do even more than that, we have to make vaccines available to those countries that don’t have the capability to do it themselves,” said Dr Fauci.

“The United States has really revved up their activity in helping out India as well as the Covaxx at WHO,” he continued, “We’re sending oxygen, remdesivir, personal protective equipment, a variety of other medications and soon we’ll be sending vaccine[s] to help out.”

“So, I think that that’s a responsibility that the rich countries need to assume. Right now, it’s a terrible tragic situation where people are dying because there’s not enough oxygen, where there’s not enough hospital beds. We have to try, looking forward, to get as much equity when it comes to public health issues as we possibly can,” he added.

He further said, “Because we’re all in this together. It’s an interconnected world. And there are responsibilities that countries have to each other, particularly if you’re a wealthy country and you’re dealing with countries that don’t have the resources or capabilities that you have.”

So far, at least 17 countries have come forward to help India, and they range from the neighbours to the major powers in the world. While Bhutan is going to supply oxygen, the US might be able to share AstraZeneca vaccines next month.

Among the countries that are sending support are the US, UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Romania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Sweden, Australia, Bhutan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Thailand and UAE among others.

The US expects that there are approximately 10 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine that could be released if and when FDA gives its concurrence in the coming weeks. The UK made an announcement that 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators, will be sent to India this week. Out of these, 100 ventilators and 95 oxygen concentrators already arrived on April 27

Asked whether the situation in countries like India meant the world would struggle to ever contain Covid, Dr. Fauci said, “I believe we will get there. But it makes it more difficult when you have the spread of infection in a country that’s not handling it very well. If you get infections in a country in which there are a lot of immunosuppressed individuals, including people who are infected with HIV and the virus infects them, they don’t clear it as rapidly as you would hope and that gives the virus a chance to mutate, which leads to the development of additional variants.”

Dr Fauci’s remarks came as India recorded a single-day record of 3,293 Covid fatalities on Tuesday, with the country’s death toll at 200,000 and rising, according to figures from the Associated Press.

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