Vinod Khosla offers to help Indian hospitals with import of oxygen

Vinod Khosla

The Indian American billionaire says he will fund hospitals “that need funding to import bulk planeloads of oxygen or supplies into India.”

With a deadly second wave of coronavirus wreaking havoc in India, Indian American billionaire Vinod Khosla has offered to fund Indian hospitals that need resources to import oxygen.

In the past week, the country recorded more than 1.6 million new infections and more than 10,000 Covid-related deaths, according to official figures, which many say are both vastly underreported.

Hundreds of people have died in northern, central and western parts of India because of shortage of oxygen.

“I’m willing to fund hospitals in India that need funding to import bulk planeloads of oxygen or supplies into India to increase supply,” Khosla said in a tweet on Saturday. He asked public hospitals and non-governmental organizations to reach out through the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Health.

Later in another tweet, Khosla appealed to Biden to ship all doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccines to India. He wrote, “The AZ vaccine is unlikely to be ever approved in the US given current alternatives here. @Potus
should absolutely release all doses and future commitments for US supply since Moderna and @pfizer can supply US needs”.

Earlier, on Friday, the US Chamber of Commerce called on the president to release doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to India, Brazil and other nations ravaged by the pandemic.

BBC reported Friday that many Covid patients are dying while they wait for oxygen. “Hospitals are struggling to accommodate breathless patients, or even keep alive those who were lucky enough to find a bed,” it said. “Social media feeds and WhatsApp groups are full of frantic pleas for oxygen cylinders.”

The report, quoting a health official, said the second covid wave has forced the country to divert 90 percent of its 7,500 metric ton oxygen supply for medical use.

READ: Covid tsunami hits India with record 332,000 daily cases (April 23, 2021)

In response to Khosla’s announcement, Indian American Rep. Ro Khanna, D-CA< said in a tweet that he discussed with the fellow Californian “the urgency of the situation and his commitment,” and hoped “any hospital in India in need of oxygen or supplies will reach out to” Khosla.

Earlier on Saturday, Khosla’s son, Neal Khosla, criticized the Biden administration for not helping India during the crisis. He tweeted: “What’s happening in India right now is horrifying. One of the greatest humanitarian crises we’ve ever seen. And it create new strains that could ruin the US. Biden is twiddling his thumbs, more worried about cap gains. A sickening failure of leadership. Et tu, @KamalaHarris?”

The younger Khosla, a health tech entrepreneur, also criticized the Indian government in a follow-up tweet, saying that it “has failed first and foremost.” He wrote: “Certainly India’s govt has failed first and foremost. But America should be doing more in response. Why sentence the people of India to death for their govt’s failures?”

The Delhi-born Vinod Khosla, founder of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Khosla Ventures, is the seventh-richest Indian American. According to Forbes, he’s worth $2.9 billion. Khosla Ventures invests in experimental technologies such as biomedicine and robotics through.

He came to the United States in the 1970s after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology.

After obtaining a master’s in biomedical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, he co-founded the tech company Sun Microsystems in 1982, along with Andy Bechtolsheim, Bill Joy, and Scott McNealy.

He left the firm in the mid-1980s to become a venture capitalist at firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

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