Serum Institute of India (SII) said on Tuesday it had received additional funds that would allow it to double its supply of Covid-19 vaccines to India and other poorer countries as part of the Gavi COVAX facility. The Pune-headquartered vaccine maker will now be using these funds from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, to supply 200 million vaccines to these countries as early as the first half of 2021.
SII currently has agreements to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines developed by American vaccine maker Novavax, as well as Oxford University in collaboration with Swedish-British drugmaker AstraZeneca. “This brings the total number of vaccine doses to be covered by the partnership between SII, Gavi, and the Gates Foundation to an aggregate of up to 200 million doses, following the initial agreement for up to 100 million doses announced in August. The arrangement again provides an option to secure additional doses if the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator sees a need for it,” stated SII in a release.
“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,” it stated, adding that the vaccines under this agreement will have a ceiling price of $3 per dose. This is additional to a deal between AstraZeneca and Gavi announced in June, which will commit an extra 300 million doses of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca candidate to the wider COVAX Facility.
Under the COVAX umbrella, Gavi is coordinating the COVAX Facility, which provides governments with the opportunity to benefit from a large portfolio of COVID-19 candidate vaccines using a range of technology platforms, produced by more manufacturers across the world, with a bigger market to provide security of demand. India is a Gavi beneficiary and will, therefore, receive a certain proportion of the vaccines from the COVAX facility.
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