As U.S. and other governments sign deals for vaccine supplies, Gates, Gavi and Serum Institute of India pledge cheap shots for developing world
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said it is backing the world’s largest vaccine maker, Serum Institute of India, to churn out 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine for poorer countries and price them at less than $3.
The move comes as governments around the world, including the U.S. and U.K., strike vaccine production deals with the manufacturers of a handful of promising, late-stage vaccine development projects.
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The Gates Foundation as well as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance—an organization which helps negotiate and finance vaccines for poor countries—said they would back privately held Serum Institute, or SII, to speed up the manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccine doses for the developing countries once any are proven effective. SII is one of several contracted manufacturers already tapped by AstraZeneca AZN -2.05% PLC to make a vaccine in development at the University of Oxford.
The Pune, India-based SII is the go-to vaccine supplier for the World Health Organization and others and produces 1.5 billion doses of other vaccines every year, making it the largest in the world by volume. The three organizations said the collaboration will help ensure that lower and middle-income countries won’t be forgotten if a coronavirus vaccine is found.
“Researchers are making good progress on developing safe and effective vaccines for Covid-19,” said Bill Gates in a statement. “But making sure everyone has access to them, as soon as possible, will require tremendous manufacturing capacity and a global distribution network.”
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In this day and age, understanding bacteria and viruses and developing vaccines are national security issues. In my view sizable part of every country’s defense budget should be spent in these pursuits rather than making tanks and other weapons.
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