Serum Institute of India has received additional funding from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and GAVI to ramp up its production of Covid-19 vaccines. SII will now make up to 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for poorer countries, including India, next year, as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and GAVI vaccines alliance have doubled their funding, the company said on Tuesday. The extra funds will help Serum boost manufacturing of the vaccine candidates from AstraZeneca Plc and Novavax Inc, for delivery under the COVAX scheme as early as the first half of 2021.
The collaboration takes forward an initial agreement signed in August by
Serum, GAVI and the Gates Foundation for 100 million doses to be priced at a maximum of $3 each. The total funding provided is now $300 million, and the expanded collaboration also has an option for the provision of additional doses as needed. The so-called COVAX plan, co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and GAVI, aims to deliver 2 billion vaccine doses around the world by the end of 2021. More than 150 nations have joined the plan, though China and the United States have not signed up.
In August, SII had entered into a new partnership with international vaccine alliance GAVI and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. The collaboration will provide upfront capital to SII to help it increase manufacturing capacity now, so that once a vaccine gets regulatory approval and WHO Prequalification, doses can be distributed at scale to LMICs, it added.
It said that the doses will be distributed as part of the GAVI COVAX AMC mechanism as early as the first half of 2021. "The collaboration further bolsters up our fight against COVID-19. "Through the avid support of GAVI and the Bill and 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 SII CEO Adar Poonawalla. (Source: WION, TNIE)