With this, the collaboration of the three organisations will now produce a total of 20 crore vaccine doses for poorer nations.
The Serum Institute of India (SII) on September 29 said that it aims to make an additional 10 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine for low and middle income countries, as part of its tie-up with the Gates Foundation and Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance. With this, the collaboration of the three organisations will now produce a total of 20 crore vaccine doses for poorer nations.
Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India, said, "The collaboration further bolsters up our fight against COVID-19! Through the avid support of Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we will now manufacture and deliver up to an additional 100 million doses of immunogenic and safe-proven future COVID-19 vaccines to India and low- and middle-income countries in 2021."
Earlier in August, the Pune-based vaccine manufacturer had announced that in partnership with Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it would accelerate the manufacture and delivery of up to 10 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines for India and other low income countries by 2021. SII had set a ceiling price of $3 (approximately Rs 225) per dose.
This alliance would provide upfront capital to SII to help increase manufacturing capacity so that once a vaccine, or vaccines, gains necessary regulatory approvals, doses can be distributed at scale to low and middle income countries as part of the Gavi COVAX AMC mechanism.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.