Pompeo discusses availability of medicines with Jaishankar

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S. Jaishankar

By Arul Louis  

New York– As the United States is buffeted by the Covid-19 pandemic, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has discussed the availability of medicines with India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, the State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said on Thursday.

She said that they “discussed bilateral and international cooperation to contain and mitigate COVID-19, including ensuring the availability of pharmaceutical and medical supplies”.

Ortagus did not provide specifics of the medical supplies they discussed.

Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for hydroxycholoquine (HCQ).

The Indian government released to the US the HCQ, which had been ordered by the US before India imposed a freeze on exporting them.

Trump has thanked the Indian people and Modi for allowing HCQ exports to the US.

India has also allowed export of HCQ to Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Israel and other countries, including neighbours.

While this gesture established India as both a pharmaceutical and a humanitarian powerhouse, it has been criticised by Congress Party leader Rahul Gandhi and others.

In the US, sections of the media have vehemently criticised Trump for promoting HCQ as a therapy for Covid-19.

Despite the media criticism, New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo has initiated a trial with over 1,000 participants in the hard-hit state.

The University of Minnesota is conducting two rigorous clinical trials with HCQ, one to evaluate its effectiveness in preventing the contagion and treating those already affected by it.

In early trials elsewhere, the results have been mixed with some reporting positive results and some showing no improvements.

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorised emergency use of HCQ for COVID-19 patients who meet certain conditions.

As of Thursday morning there were 843,937 COVID-19 cases in the US with 46,851 deaths.

New York State had 263,754 cases and 19,453 deaths. (IANS)

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