News Tip: Neglecting India Puts The World At Risk, Scientists Say

Summary: The COVID-19 outbreak in India could become a regional disaster and affect the availability of vaccines and other medicines worldwide if the international community does not act, and the world has a responsibility to address a humanitarian crisis that could easily spread, scientists say.

The following comments from Duke University professors Manoj Mohanan, a health economist, and Dr. Gavin Yamey, a professor of global health and public policy, are available for use in your coverage. Mohanan and Yamey were among the authors of a new commentary calling on the global community to help India’s response in The Lancet medical journal.

“The most urgent need is to save lives by expanding health-care capacity,” says Manoj Mohanan, a health economist at Duke University. “India needs donations of oxygen concentrators, ventilators, medications, vaccines, high-quality personal protective equipment and SARS-CoV-2 rapid diagnostic tests.”

“India is one of the world’s largest producers of vaccines, generic medications, antiretrovirals, and tuberculosis medications,” says Dr. Gavin Yamey, a professor of global health at Duke. “The global supply chain for these medications is likely to be disrupted by the crisis in India. The international community must step in to fill the gaps and ensure that global supply chains of medications are not derailed.”

“India’s COVID-19 surge could become a regional disaster impacting all of south Asia,” Mohanan said. “Strengthening of surveillance systems, travel restrictions and mandatory quarantine for individuals traveling from India must be implemented to help control the spread of SARS-CoV-2 to neighboring countries.”

Manoj Mohanan
Manoj Mohanan is a health economist and an associate professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy, the Duke Global Health Institute and Economics Department at Duke. His recent research includes estimating the true number of COVID cases in India.

Dr. Gavin Yamey
Dr. Gavin Yamey is a professor of the practice of global health and public policy at the Duke Global Health Institute. He is also director of the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health at Duke, which addresses challenges in financing and delivering global health. Yamey co-created a mechanism to help ensure equitable distribution of COVID vaccines.

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