In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday (September 25), India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, invited the world’s drug manufacturers to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines in his country.
“Today. I also extend an invitation to vaccine manufacturers from across the world, come, come, make vaccine in India,” Modi told the gathering of world leaders in New York.
Modi also touted his country’s own vaccine production, reminding the world body that India produced the world’s first DNA COVID-19 vaccine.
“I would like to inform the UNGA that India has developed the world’s first, the world’s first DNA vaccine, and this vaccine can be administered to anyone above the age of 12,” said Modi.
India’s drug regulator in August granted emergency use approval for Zydus Cadila’s COVID-19 vaccine, the world’s first DNA shot against the coronavirus, in adults and children aged 12 years and above.
The vaccine, ZyCoV-D, uses a section of genetic material from the virus that gives instructions as either DNA or RNA to make the specific protein that the immune system recognises and responds to.
Turning to Afghanistan, Modi warned countries not to take advantage of Afghanistan’s political fragility since the Taliban takeover.
“We also need to be alert and ensure that no country tries to take advantage of the delicate situation there and use it as a tool for its own selfish interests at this time,” said Modi.
“The people of Afghanistan, the women and children of Afghanistan, the minorities of Afghanistan need help and we must fulfill our duty by providing them with this help,” added Modi.
The Islamist Taliban swept to victory in Afghanistan last month after two decades of fighting and announced a provisional government that has met with a guarded reception from the international community.
India fears that militant groups that operate from Pakistan may also use Afghan territory to orchestrate attacks and says Pakistan should be held responsible because of its close links to the Taliban.
(Production: Soren Larson)