ALSO READ: Serum Institute to partner with Gates Foundation to make Covid-19 vaccine
Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), commented, "India has demonstrated consistent capability in delivering low-cost and high-quality medical research, while also maintaining technical and scientific rigour. ICMR is deeply supportive of our cutting edge vaccine research and manufacturing prowess, of which SII is one prominent example. This partnership signifies yet another step in India's efforts to bolster the fight against this global pandemic."
SII has signed two agreements for the supply of Covid-19 vaccines, the first being AstraZeneca-Oxford's candidate, for which the company has agreed to produce up to 1 billion doses for low and middle-income countries. The Oxford University vaccine candidate has received permission to start phase-2 and 3 trials in India last week.
The second agreement is with the US-based Novavax that has granted the company exclusive and non-exclusive licences for development, co-formulation, filling and finishing, registration and commercialisation of its NVX-CoV2373 vaccine product for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Novavax trials are yet to start in India.
ALSO READ: Switzerland inks pact with Moderna for early access to firm's Covid vaccine
The deal, built on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between AstraZeneca and Gavi, reportedly guarantees 300 million doses of AstraZeneca's candidate vaccine to the wider COVAX Facility, to be supplied upon licensure or prequalification, the statement by the SII read.
"The rampant spread of the virus has rendered the entire world in an unimaginable halt of uncertainty. And to ensure maximum immunisation coverage and contain the pandemic, it is important to make sure that the most remote and poorest countries of the world have access to affordable cure and preventive measures. Through this association, we seek to ramp up our constant efforts to save the lives of millions of people from this dreadful disease," said Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India.