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US sending AstraZeneca vaccine supplies to India

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The Biden administration on Monday said it will send raw materials needed for production of the AstraZeneca vaccine to India as it battles a record rise in coronavirus cases.

“As requested by the government of India, we will be providing raw materials for the production of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at the Serum Institute of India,” a senior administration official told reporters.

The US will be diverting its own order of supplies to the hard-hit country, which has been overwhelmed by a catastrophic surge of COVID-19 infections.

“Because of the scope of the current situation India and the state of our own production here at home, this was the most effective and rapid step we can take at this stage to provide support at scale,” the official said.

The administration is also working on sending ventilators, personal protective equipment, COVID-19 tests and other therapeutics to India.

A team of health experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USAID will travel there to assist local officials, The White House said Sunday.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval to express “deep sympathy” for the people of India, the administration said.

India recorded more than 350,000 new infections on Monday, setting a new pandemic world record.

More than 17.3 million people have been infected in the country — although experts believe the true figures are likely much higher.

At least 2,812 virus deaths were also reported Monday, bringing the death toll to 195,123.

The surge has overwhelmed India’s healthcare system and cremation facilities, with horrifying reports emerging of patients dying in the streets.

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