Serum Institute to make up to 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for India, low-income countries by 2021

Serum Institute of India (SII) has announced that it has entered into a new partnership with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate the manufacture and delivery of upto 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for India and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

According to a company release, the collaboration will provide upfront capital to SII to help them increase the manufacturing capacity now so that, once a vaccine, or vaccines, gains regulatory approval and World Health Organisation (WHO) pre-qualification, doses can be produced at scale for distribution to India and LMICs, as early as the first half of 2021.

“The funding will support at-risk manufacturing by SII for candidate vaccines from AstraZeneca and Novavax, which will be available for procurement if they are successful in attaining full licensure and WHO pre-qualification. SII has set a ceiling price of US$ 3 per dose. The arrangement also provides an option to secure additional doses,’’ noted the release.

It quoted SII CEO Adar Poonawalla as saying that they had partnered with Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to advance the manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for India and LMICs in 2021.

SII had partnered with Gavi and pharmaceutical companies to manufacture vaccines against meningitis, severe diarrhoea, pneumonia and measles.

Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, said, “India has a proven track record of manufacturing safe and cost-effective vaccines not only for India, but for the world. Over the last decade, the Government of India has encouraged innovation, and supported the Indian vaccine industry to manufacture high quality, affordable indigenous tools and products to benefit India and the world. We are very happy to see SII enter this global partnership to respond to the global health crisis posed by COVID-19.”