Serum Institute Inks Deal With Gates Foundation, Gavi For 100 Million COVID 19 Vaccine Doses By 2021

Vaccines will be priced at maximum US$ 3 per dose and made available to the 92 countries included in Gavi's COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC)

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Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) on Friday announced its partnership with Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to accelerate the manufacture and delivery of up to 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for India and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) by 2021.

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The collaboration will lead to Gates Foundation to provide at-risk funding of $150 million to GAVI which will be used to support the SII to manufacture potential vaccine candidates and for future procurement of vaccines for low- and middle-income countries via Gavi’s COVAX AMC

The funding will be utilised for the manufacturing of candidate vaccines from Oxford- AstraZeneca and Novavax, which will be available for procurement if they are successful in attaining full licensure and WHO Prequalification. SII has set an affordable ceiling price of US$ 3 (INR 225 approx) per dose. The arrangement also provides an option to secure additional doses if the vaccines pillar of the ACT Accelerator sees a need for it.

The new collaboration comes a day after SII inks a deal with American vaccine maker - Novavax

"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,” said Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer of Serum Institute of India.

 “The rampant spread of the virus has rendered the entire world in an unimaginable halt of uncertainty. And to ensure maximum immunization coverage and contain the pandemic, it is important to make sure that the most remote and poorest countries of the world have access to affordable cure and preventive measures. Through this association, we seek to ramp up our constant efforts to save the lives of millions of people from this dreadful disease.”

Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, shared, “India has a proven track record of manufacturing safe and cost-effective vaccines not only for India, but for the world. Over the last decade, Government of India has encouraged innovation, and supported the Indian vaccine industry to manufacture high quality, affordable indigenous tools and products to benefit India and the world. We are very happy to see SII enter this global partnership to respond to the global health crisis posed by Covid-19.”

Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), commented, “India's has demonstrated consistent capability in delivering on low-cost and high-quality medical research, while also maintaining technical and scientific rigour. 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.”

In June, Gavi launched - Gavi Advance Market Commitment (Gavi Covax AMC) - a financing instrument aimed at incentivising vaccine manufacturers to produce sufficient quantities of eventual COVID-19 vaccines, and to ensure access for developing countries. It is currently seeking US$ 2 billion in initial seed funding and is expected to meet at least part of the cost of procurement for the vaccine doses. Last week the Gavi Board agreed the final list of 92 countries that will be supported by the AMC. Under the new collaboration, AstraZeneca’s candidate vaccine, if successful, will be available to 57 Gavi-eligible countries. Novavax’s candidate, if successful, will be available to all 92 countries supported by the AMC.