The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $150 million towards manufacturing 100 million doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines specifically for low- and middle-income countries.
Gates‘ millions ensure the Serum Institute of India can produce enough volume once a vaccine acquires regulatory approval, and ultimately keep the cost of each dose below $3.
The end goal is to deliver doses to 92 vulnerable countries around the world — so that they aren’t left behind once an effective vaccine hits the market. Gates-backed non-profit Gavi will also contribute funding.
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“Researchers are making good progress on developing safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19,” said Gates. “But making sure everyone has access to them, as soon as possible, will require tremendous manufacturing capacity and a global distribution network.”
“This collaboration gives the world some of both: the power of India’s manufacturing sector and Gavi’s supply chain. It’s just a start. Organizations like Gavi and CEPI need much more support to facilitate development and delivery of hundreds of millions – maybe billions – of vaccine doses by next year,” he added.
An associated press release listed potential vaccines produced by British-Swedish joint AstraZeneca and Maryland-based Novavax as its running candidates.
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The Gates Foundation, Gavi, and SII are already working together to deliver 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses globally by the end of 2021, and today’s announcement comes in addition to those efforts.
As noted by the Wall Street Journal, India’s SII is the world’s largest vaccine producer by volume and is the “go-to vaccine supplier” for the World Health Organization.