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COVID-19 Vaccine: Serum Institute Links With Gates Foundation For Vaccines In India And Others

On Friday, Serum Institute of India said that it would receive $150 million in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the GAVI vaccines alliance to make 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for India and other emerging economies as early as 2021.

The candidate vaccines, including those from AstraZeneca and Novavax, will be priced at $3 per dose and will be made available in 92 countries in GAVI’s COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), the company said in a statement.

The Gates Foundation will provide the funds to GAVI, which will be used to support Serum Institute.

GAVI, backed by the Gates Foundation, is a public-private global health partnership with the goal of increasing access to immunization in poor countries.

It co-leads COVAX – a scheme designed to guarantee fast and equitable access globally to COVID-19 vaccines – along with the World Health Organization and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

Gavi – COVAX

The COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) forms part of the COVAX Facility, a mechanism hosted by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, designed to guarantee rapid, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for every country in the world. 

“We are facing the most severe contraction of the economy since World War Two, and this crisis will have a terrible impact on the poorest and emerging economies,” said Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of the Gavi Board.

“These countries will have limited resources to access future COVID-19 vaccines: it is our duty to support them. Without this support, the majority of the world’s population will continue to suffer from this disease even after we’ve developed a tool to tackle it. We now can stop this from happening,” she said in a statement released in Geneva.

The list of 92 AMC-eligible economies includes all economies with Gross National Income (GNI) per capita under USD 4,000 plus other World Bank International Development Association (IDA) eligible economies. 

While close to USD 600 million has already been raised for the AMC, the “innovative financing mechanism” requires seed funding of USD 2 billion before the end of the year to secure and guarantee doses for the 92 AMC-eligible economies. India falls under the lower-middle income category. 

A minimum of an additional USD 3.4 billion is estimated to be required to procure around one billion doses by the end of 2021.

“We now have the framework in place to ensure that every economy, particularly the poorest nations, don’t get left behind in the race for a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

“This disease has spread at lightning speed across the globe, which means nobody is safe until everybody is safe. That’s why we now need support and vital funding to ensure that, once a safe, effective vaccine is ready, we can work on protecting the world and not just the lucky few.

Gavi will work with governments, international organizations, manufacturers, and civil society organizations to ensure doses get to those who need them,” Dr. Berkley said.

COVAX aims to deliver 2 billion doses of approved and effective COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021.

India reported a record jump in daily coronavirus infections on Friday and became the third country in the world to surpass 2 million cases. It lags only in the United States and Brazil in the number of infections.

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