In a race to find a vaccine for the Coronavirus is one task, and to supply at an affordable cost is another big task. Serum Institute has achieved both tasks.
India’s Pune based and World’s largest vaccines manufacturer in terms of volume, Serum Institute has announced that the COVID-19 vaccine will be made available at very low cost for Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs).
In a major development, the Serum Institute has capped the foreign licensed COVID-19 to $3/dose which comes approximately to ₹.225/- per dose in India. The cost ceiling will enable the availability of the Vaccine to the poor and middle-class income countries.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced that it will provide funding of $150 to Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) which will support the Serum Institute in manufacturing the Vaccine. Also, GAVI supports a United Kingdom firm AstraZeneca and US biotech company Novavax.
GAVI leads Covax alliance which comprises of 92 countries. GAVI & Covax alliance are in coalition with Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization (WHO) which have come together to ensure rapid and equitable access for the vaccine.
On Friday, Serum Institute has entered into a partnership with GAVI and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with respect to manufacturing and delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine. It is estimated that nearly 100 million doses will be required for the LMICs. Out of these, India alone may require 50%. Also, according to the agreement, India will get 50% of 1 million doses from Astra Zeneca and a part of 1 billion doses from Novavax.
Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute said
Through the partnership, the company will accelerate manufacture and delivery of up to 100 million doses as part of the agreement for India and LMICs, as early as the first half of 2021.
The trio-partners (GAVI, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Serum Institute) are also putting efforts to manufacture Accelerator’s Vaccines Pillar (ACT) also known as “Covax”. Investment-related decisions are also discussed related to this as per the sources.