NEW DELHI: The Serum Institute of India, which has a manufacturing partnership for a Covid-19 vaccine by the Oxford University, and another one by a US-based company Novavax, on Friday, announced that it will make it available at $3 or Rs 225 for low-and middle-income countries including India.
The vaccine candidate by Oxford University for which AstraZeneca has the licence is under advanced stages of clinical trials in India and several other countries and is likely to be available for public use in the first half of 2021.
This experimental vaccine was found to show good results in early-stage human trials.
Earlier this month, Novavax too had announced that its vaccine candidate was generally well-tolerated and had triggered robust antibody responses in phase 1 and phase 2 trials.
SII, which is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, has entered into a new partnership with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to be able to deliver up to 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for India and other LMICs.
The company said that the collaboration will provide upfront capital to 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 India and other LMICs as early as the first half of 2021.
"The rampant spread of the virus has rendered the entire world in an unimaginable halt of uncertainty and to ensure maximum immunization 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,” said SII CEO Adar Poonawala.
“Through this association, we seek to ramp up our constant efforts to save the lives of millions of people from this dreadful disease.”
The funding will support at-risk manufacturing by SII for candidate vaccines from AstraZeneca which has got the manufacturing license for Oxford University’s vaccine and Novavax, which will be available for procurement if they are successful in attaining full licensure and WHO prequalification under the Covax mechanism.
Under the Covax umbrella, Gavi is leading 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.