Pune: Highlighting 75 years of the US-India bilateral relationship and their cooperation on health issues, a US delegation visited the Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune today and noted the critical role played by US-India cooperation in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and other global health challenges.

The delegation that visited was US Mission Charge d'Affaires, Patricia Lacina, US Consul General in Mumbai Mike Hankey, Dr Preetha Rajaraman, HHS Health Attache, and FDA Country Director Dr Sarah McMullen, according to a press statement from US Consulate.

The delegation met Dr Chairman MD SII Dr Cyrus Poonawalla and Adar Poonawalla, CEO, SII, and the Novavax CEO Stanley C. Erck who also marked their presence at the event.

The event was a celebration of the long-standing ties in health sector between the two countries.

With the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA)'s recent authorization of Novavax's Nuvaxovid vaccine, SII has become the first Indian manufacturer to access the US vaccine market.

Approximately 3.5 million SII-made doses of the Novavax vaccine have already been sent to the United States, the statement by US Consulate read.

The delegates underlined the critical role played by US-India cooperation in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and other global health challenges as they welcomed the partnership between US company Novavax and India's Serum Institute on vaccine development and manufacturing.

In a statement, US Mission Charge d'Affaires Patricia Lacina said, "The long-standing relationship in health between the United States and India has had a profound impact on the lives of people across both countries and globally. The partnership is vital in addressing the challenges of our times. The public-private economic partnership between both countries plays a key role in ensuring the health and prosperity of our people."

"I am delighted to be in Pune and visit the Serum Institute of India, which has helped save lives around the world during the pandemic," she added.

In another statement, CEO of Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla said, "The US and India have been close allies for the longest time. Together, they have created several milestones that have benefitted the citizens and the world, at large."

"The strong cooperation between both the countries on global vaccination and pandemic relief has been inspiring, he said, adding that in order to keep the growth curve upward and onwards, we will continue to play our role sincerely."