Serum Institute of India (SII) today said it has entered a partnership with international vaccine alliance Gavi and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines for India and low and middle-income countries (LMIC).
The company said in a statement that it has set an affordable ceiling price of USD three (around Rs 225) per dose and will be made available to 92 countries likely in the first half of next year, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
"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 pre-qualification, doses can be produced at a scale for distribution to India and LMICs as part of the Gavi COVAX AMC mechanism as early as the first half of 2021," the statement said.
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, our New Delhi correspondent reports quoting the statement.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, via its Strategic Investment Fund, will provide at-risk funding of USD 150 million to Gavi, which will be used to support 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.
"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
India has a proven track record of manufacturing safe and cost-effective vaccines not only for India but for the world, she added.