The Serum Insititute of India (SII) on Tuesday, announced that it will produce up to an additional 100 million (10 crore) coronavirus vaccine doses for India and low-middle-income countries (LMICs). The announcement takes forward the collaboration between the Serum Institute of India (SII), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which was signed in August, this year.
"The collaboration further bolsters up our fight against COVID-19! Through the avid support of Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we will now manufacture and deliver up to an additional 100 million doses of immunogenic and safe-proven future COVID-19 vaccines to India and low- and middle-income countries in 2021," said Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India.
In August, the SII entered into a partnership with Gavi (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation), and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to produce 100 million doses for India and LMICs.
The collaboration brings the total number of vaccine doses covered by SII, Gavi, Gates Foundation to an aggregate 200 million (20 crore) doses.
"At this stage, it is important for governments, global health and financial institutions in the public and private sector to come together in ensuring that no one is left behind in the road to recovery. This association is In line with our efforts to see that the future vaccines reaches the remotest part of the world providing full immunisation coverage in a bid to contain the spread of the pandemic," Poonawalla added.
The vaccines will have a ceiling price of US$3 per dose (Rs 221.43), a price enabled by investments made by partners such as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Gates Foundation and SII.
The Gavi COVAX AMC, which is currently seeking at least US$2 billion in initial seed funding, will meet at least part of the cost of procurement for the vaccine doses. The Gavi Board has agreed upon the final list of 92 countries that will be supported by the Gavi COVAX AMC.
Under the new collaboration, AstraZeneca's candidate vaccine, if successful, will be available to 61 Gavi-eligible countries. Novavax's candidate, if successful, will be available to all 92 countries supported by the Gavi COVAX AMC. These countries align with SII's licensing agreements with the two partners.
The collaboration between Gavi, SII, and the Gates Foundation supports the efforts of the ACT Accelerator's vaccines arm, also known as COVAX, co-led by Gavi, CEPI and the World Health Organization (WHO), to accelerate the development of COVID-19 vaccines and ensure rapid, global access to them.
Under the COVAX umbrella, Gavi is coordinating COVAX Facility, which provides governments with the opportunity to benefit from a large portfolio of COVID-19 candidate vaccines.
So far 73 higher-income economies have formally committed to join the Facility, in addition to the 92 low-and middle-income economies that are eligible for support from the Gavi COVAX AMC, SII informed on Tuesday.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, via its Strategic Investment Fund, will provide at-risk funding of a further US$150 million to Gavi, bringing the total funding provided through this collaboration to US$300 million. This will be used to support the Serum Institute of India to manufacture potential vaccine candidates, and for future procurement of vaccines for India and low- and middle-income countries via Gavi's COVAX AMC.