COVID-19 Vaccine to Cost Less Than Rs 250: Serum Institute

SII has entered into a collaboration with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Coronavirus
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Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) announced on Friday, 7 August, that it would introduce candidate vaccines from AstraZeneca and Novavax for COVID-19 at less than Rs 250 per dose in India. According to IANS, the institute said it would offer up to 100 million doses at a price capped at $3 for 92 low and middle-income countries (LMIC), including India.

WHEN WILL THE VACCINES BE AVAILABLE?

SII has said the vaccines will be made available by first half of 2021, after receiving approvals and qualifications from the World Health Organisation (WHO), reported IANS. Further, SII said that if approved, Novavax’s vaccine will be available to 92 countries, while AstraZeneca’s will be available to 57.

BUT HOW?

SII has reportedly entered into a collaboration with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as part of COVAX agreement.

Bill and Melinda Gates will, via Gavi, provide SII with capital of $150 million “to enhance the capacity to manufacture and distribute the potential vaccine to candidates on a large scale after gaining regulatory approval and WHO prequalification,” reported IANS.

WHAT DID ICMR SAY?

According to IANS, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) reportedly said:

“India has demonstrated consistent capability in delivering low-cost and high-quality medical research, while also maintaining technical and scientific rigour. ICMR is deeply supportive of our cutting edge vaccine research and manufacturing prowess, of which SII is one prominent example. This partnership signifies yet another step in India’s efforts to bolster the fight against this global pandemic.”   

AGREEMENT FOR ASTRAZENECA-OXFORD CANDIDATE

Under this agreement, SII will produce 1 billion doses for low and middle-income countries, reported IANS. This candidate, according to IANS, has received permission, and is all set to start phase 2 and 3 trials in India.

The agreement, built on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between AstraZeneca and Gavi, reportedly guarantees 300 million doses of AstraZeneca's candidate vaccine to the wider COVAX Facility, according to IANS. SII also, however, said that these doses are to be given upon licensure or prequalification.

AGREEMENT FOR NOVAVAX CANDIDATE

Under this agreement, SII has exclusive and non-exclusive licences for development, co-formulation, filling and finishing, registration and commercialisation of its NVX-CoV2373 vaccine product for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, reported IANS. Novavax trials, though, have not yet started in India.

WHAT DID SII SAY?

According to IANS, Adar Poonawalla has talked about the importance of making sure that the most remote and poorest countries of the world have access to affordable preventive measures.

“The rampant spread of the virus has rendered the entire world in an unimaginable halt of uncertainty. And to ensure maximum immunisation coverage and contain the pandemic, it is important to make sure that the most remote and poorest countries of the world have access to affordable cure and preventive measures. Through this association, we seek to ramp up our constant efforts to save the lives of millions of people from this dreadful disease.”   

(With inputs from IANS.)

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