Serum Institute partners with Gavi and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to manufacture, deliver of up to 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to India, other low and middle-income countries.
Serum Institute of India (SII) on Friday said it has entered into a new partnership with international vaccine alliance Gavi and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for India as well as other low and middle-income countries (LMICs).
“The collaboration will provide upfront capital to SII to help them increase manufacturing capacity now so that, once a vaccine, or vaccines, gains regulatory approval and WHO prequalification, doses can be produced at scale for distribution to India and LMICs as part of the Gavi COVAX AMC mechanism as early as the first half of 2021,” SII said in a statement.
The company has set an affordable ceiling price of $3 (around Rs 225) per dose, it added. The vaccine will be made available to the 92 countries included in Gavi’s COVAX AMC.
The funding will support at-risk manufacturing by SII for candidate vaccines from AstraZeneca and Novavax, which will be available for procurement if they are successful in attaining full licensure and WHO prequalification, the statement said.
— Gates Foundation (@gatesfoundation) August 7, 2020
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, via its Strategic Investment Fund, will provide at-risk funding of $150 million to Gavi, which will be used to support the SII to manufacture the potential vaccine candidates and for future procurement of vaccines for low- and middle-income countries via Gavi’s COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), the statement said.
“In an attempt to make our fight against COVID-19 stronger and all-embracing; SII has partnered with Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to advance the manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of future COVID vaccines for India and low- and middle-income countries in 2021,” Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla said.
The world’s largest vaccine producer, the Serum Institute in India, plans to mass-produce an unproven COVID-19 vaccine candidate. https://t.co/TWohdz5Yz6
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) August 1, 2020
Through this association, SII seeks to ramp up constant efforts to save the lives of millions of people from this dreadful disease, he added. Serum Institute has a long history of partnerships with Gavi and pharmaceutical companies to manufacture vaccines that protect against meningitis, severe diarrhoea, pneumonia and measles, the statement said.
“We are very happy to see SII enter this global partnership to respond to the global health crisis posed by COVID-19,” Renu Swarup, secretary in the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, said.
In a similar vein, Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Balram Bhargava said: “ICMR is deeply supportive of our cutting edge vaccine research and manufacturing prowess, of which SII is one prominent example. This partnership signifies yet another step in India’s efforts to bolster the fight against this global pandemic.”
According to a report by Reuters, AstraZeneca has been granted protection from product liability claims, in the future, related to its COVID-19 vaccine candidate by most of the countries with which it has signed agreements.
“This is a unique situation where we as a company simply cannot take the risk if in … four years the vaccine is showing side effects,” Ruud Dobber, a member of Astra’s senior executive team, told Reuters.
“In the contracts, we have in place, we are asking for indemnification. For most countries it is acceptable to take that risk on their shoulders because it is in their national interest,” he added.
with inputs from wires
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