Indian pharmaceutical major the Serum Institute of India (SII), reputed to be the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, has entered into a significant agreement with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide the COVID-19 vaccine at low costs. 

Media reports on Friday suggested that the deal will allow SII to produce 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in India and other developing countries. Under this agreement, the foundation will provide more than Rs 1,124 crore to SII towards the development. Earlier, SII had also entered into agreements with British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and US pharma company Novavax for the production of the vaccine.

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Under the agreement with the Gates Foundation, SII can charge up to a maximum of three dollars, or Rs. 250 per two doses of the vaccine. The company will receive funding from Gates Foundation through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to cover the cost of manufacturing the vaccine in large numbers. 

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According to SII, "this funding will support the risk being taken for the manufacture of the vaccine candidates of AstraZeneca and Novavax." The company also stated that the vaccine will be available for government procurement once it is fully licensed and meets World Health Organization (WHO) standards.

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On Wednesday, Novavax had informed that it had signed a supply and license agreement with SII for the development and commercialisation of its vaccine. On the other hand, SII CEO Adar Poonawala has said that his company is aware of its experience with Novavax regarding the development of the malaria vaccine in the past, making them aware of Novavax's vaccine technology capability.

Medicines / Products that contain Serum Institute ties up with Gavi and Gates Foundation to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine development

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