India is expected to provide three crore COVID-19 vaccine doses to its neighbour Bangladesh, according to a vaccine deal signed between India, Bangladesh, Serum Institute of India (SII) and Beximco Pharmaceuticals.
Bangladesh has agreed to buy 3 core doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine candidate from Serum Institute of India. Serum Institute of India, which is the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines by volume, had partnered with AstraZeneca to mass-produce the COVID-19 vaccine.
Serum Institute of India is expected to produce 100 crore doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate. These doses will be given to middle and low-income countries, including India. SII has now agreed to provide 3 crore doses to Bangladesh.
"An MoU has been signed between the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd and Beximco Pharmaceuticals. This MoU will further cement the trust between India-Bangladesh relations," said government sources, according to India Today.
Health Minister of Bangladesh Zahid Maleque told reporters after signing the deal, "Whenever the vaccine is ready, the Serum Institute will give us 30 million doses in the first phase". He added that around 5 million doses of vaccine per month would be purchased through Beximco Pharmaceuticals, a Bangladeshi drugmaker.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that all countries would have to unite to fight against the deadly disease. "We must play a proactive role to help neighbouring countries," PM Modi had said.
Currently, five COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in advanced phases of development in India. Four candidates are in Phase II/III while one is in Phase I/II. Apart from Bangladesh, other countries such as Myanmar, Qatar, Bhutan, Switzerland, Bahrain, Austria and South Korea have also shown interest in partnering with India for its vaccine development programs.