Race for COVID-19 vaccine has gained speed, with the Serum Institute of India all set to produce 100 million doses of affordable COVID-19 vaccine for vulnerable countries

In a significant move, the Serum Institute of India (SII) has entered into collaboration with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi to produce 100 million doses of affordable COVID-19 vaccine. SII is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume.

In an official statement, the company said candidate vaccines, including those from AstraZeneca and Novavax will be priced at US$3. It will cap the cost at 2.5 euros per dose in 92 countries, said report in RFI.

Gavi said the collaboration will provide upfront capital to the SII to help them increase manufacturing capacity now so that, once a vaccine or vaccines, gains regulatory approval and WHO prequalification, doses can be produced at scale for distribution to LMIC countries as part of Gavi COVAX AMC mechanism as early as the first half of 2021.

Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, pointed out that too many times, the most vulnerable countries have been left out when it comes to new treatments, new diagnostics and new vaccines.

“With COVID-19 vaccines, we want things to be different,” he said in the company’s statement. “If only the wealthiest countries in the world are protected, then international trade, commerce and society as a whole will continue to be hit hard as the pandemic continues to rage across the globe.”

The Pune-based biotech organization has earlier said it had already geared up to produce 200 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which will be locally branded as Covishield.

Read the full report in rfi