HCQ export: All praise for PM Modi, Trump says India’s help will not be forgotten
After initially threatening retaliation against India, the US President is now heaping praise on New Delhi for hydroxychloroquine export. He has hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the move, adding that it will “not be forgotten”.
US President Donald Trump has thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi India for allowing export of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine -- an unproven treatment that the Republican leader has promoted in the fight against the novel coronavirus. This comes as the death toll from COVID-19 in the US reached more than 14,700 with 4.3 lakh infections.
Earlier this week, Trump had threatened retaliation against New Delhi over the export of hydroxychloroquine. Later, India decided to partially lift a ban on the export of the anti-malarial drug, paving the way for its supply to the US and several other countries hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at his daily White House news conference on coronavirus, Trump said: “I want to thank Prime Minister Modi of India for allowing us to have what we requested for the problem arose and he was terrific. We will remember it.”
In a tweet, hours earlier, Trump praised Modi for his strong leadership and said that India’s help during this crisis will not be forgotten.
Extraordinary times require even closer cooperation between friends. Thank you India and the Indian people for the decision on HCQ. Will not be forgotten! Thank you Prime Minister @NarendraModi for your strong leadership in helping not just India, but humanity, in this fight!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2020
Trump said in a tweet that soon went viral. It was retweeted more than 74,000 times and liked by over two lakhs Twitterati.
The deadly virus has so far killed more than 88,000 and infected more than 1.5 million people across the globe, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Scientists and the medical fraternity are racing against time to find a vaccine and a therapeutic solution to it. Hydroxychloroquine has been identified by the US Food and Drug Administration as a possible treatment for the COVID-19 and it is being tested on more than 1,500 coronavirus patients in New York.
Anticipating that it will work, given initial positive results, Trump has bought more than 30 million doses of Hydroxychloroquine for potential treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Trump, in a phone call last week, had requested the Indian Prime Minister to release the hold on American order of the malaria drug, of which India is the major producer. India lifted the hold on Tuesday.
Three Gujarat-based companies would export these tablets to the US, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had said. India manufactures 70 per cent of the world's supply of Hydroxychloroquine, according to Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) secretary-general Sudarshan Jain.
The country has a production capacity of 40 tonnes of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) every month, implying 20 crore tablets of 200 mg each. And since the drug is also used to auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, manufacturers have good production capacities that can also be ramped up.
Indian Americans welcomed the decision.
“President Trump is a Graceful and Grateful Man. He is honest when he says that he will not forget India's gesture. He is a True Friend of India,” said Al Mason, a Trump supporter.
“Thank you President” Trump. “! I think you are well orchestrating the compulsion of history and demand of destiny that we and India be the best of friends, joined at the hip and yet as family, free hearts and minds to love across a spectrum of emotions, but always together,” tweeted Indian American attorney Ravi Batra.