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COVID-19: one hundred million doses of cheap supplemental vaccines for poor countries

The Gavi Coalition, which collaborates with WHO on the COVAX global vaccine program, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have announced an agreement to purchase 100 million supplemental doses for developing countries.

In early August, Gavi and the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation had already announced a collaboration with the Serological Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, to deliver 100 million doses.

The vaccines will be sold at a maximum price of $ 3 per dose, with the possibility of obtaining more.

The announcement comes after the WHO and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced the distribution of 120 million rapid and accessible COVID-19 tests to the poorest countries.

Developed by the United States-based Swedish-British pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Novavax, the vaccines will be manufactured by IBS and donated to the WHO-led coronavirus coalition called Covax (Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access).

This collaboration will allow the Indian institute to increase its production capacity so that, once one or more vaccines have received regulatory approval and authorization from WHO, doses can be distributed in low- and middle-income countries no earlier than the first half of the year. of 2021.

As part of this collaboration, AstraZeneca’s vaccine potential will be made available to 61 countries, while Novavax’s vaccine potential will be made available to the 92 countries supported by the Covax mechanism.

“No country, rich or poor, should be left behind when it comes to Covid-19 vaccines,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, Gavi president and CEO, in a statement.

“At this juncture, it is important that governments, global health, and public and private sector financial institutions come together to ensure that no one is left behind,” added IIS Director General Adar Poonawalla.

The Covax mechanism is part of the international mechanism created by the United Nations to accelerate equitable access to tools to combat Covid-19, the ACT Accelerator. Yet the UN has only received 3 billion of the $ 38 billion requested.

In this framework, AstraZeneca committed in June to distribute 300 million doses to Gavi, in addition to the agreement reached through the Indian institute.

The WHO has set a target of 2 billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021, while the new coronavirus pandemic has caused more than a million deaths worldwide since the first cases appeared in China in late December.

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