Serum Institute of India (SII) will produce up to an additional 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for India and low and middle-income countries (LMICs) in 2021. The company made this announcement taking forward the collaboration between SII, Gavi, Vaccine Alliance and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The expansion follows August’s announcement of up to 100 million doses to be delivered by the collaboration and bringing the total now to be delivered by the partnership to up to 200 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, or vaccines, gains regulatory approval and WHO prequalification, doses can be distributed at scale to LMICs as part of the Gavi COVAX AMC mechanism as early as the first half of 2021, said the company. Adar Poonawalla, CEO of SII said, “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.”
“This association is in line with our efforts to see that the future vaccines reach the remotest part of the world providing full immunisation coverage in a bid to contain the spread of the pandemic,” Poonawalla added.
The funding will help accelerate the manufacturing by SII for candidate vaccines licensed from AstraZeneca and Novavax, which will be available for procurement if they are successful in attaining full licensure and WHO Prequalification.
The vaccines will have a ceiling price of US$3 per dose, a price enabled by investments made by partners such as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and SII.
The collaboration between Gavi, SII, and the Gates Foundation supports the efforts of the ACT Accelerator’s vaccines pillar, 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. Decisions around investment in manufacturing are taken in close collaboration between these three lead organisations of the COVAX pillar. (ANI)