"And to ensure maximum immunization 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", said institute CEO Adar Poonawalla.
As part of the deal, Serum Institute has set a price ceiling of $3 (around Rs 225) per dose, made available to up to 92 countries included those under Gavi's COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).
The company which is the largest vaccine manufacturer of the world has already signed deals with two of the leading Covid-19 vaccine candidates-Oxford University-AstraZeneca and Novavax- to develop, manufacture and sell the vaccine in India along with some other developing nations.
Indian Drug controller has also permitted SII to undertake phase 2 and 3 human trials on Covishield in India.
The agreement between the organizations is aimed at fast-tracking the mass-production of candidate vaccines developed by UK's Oxford University-AstraZeneca and America's Novavax.
It is to be noted that SII's vaccine productions for the 2 candidates shall be procured only if they successful get a "thumbs up", or manages to get the full licensing from WHO. It will have the exclusive rights for the vaccine in India (during the term of the deal) and non-exclusive rights during the "pandemic period" in all countries apart from upper-middle or high income countries.
The shot from AstraZeneca is already in the final stage, while Novavax's candidate is expected to go into Phase-3 next month. In the past, SII has had a long history of partnering with GAVI and other pharmaceutical companies for producing to fight meningitis, diarrhoea, pneumonia and measles.
Speaking about the move, Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), commented, "India's has demonstrated consistent capability in delivering on low-priced and high-quality medical research, while also maintaining technical and scientific rigour". The panel which will be led by Niti Aayog's Dr VK Paul and co-chaired by health secretary Rajesh Bhushan includes AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria, representatives of the ministries of external affairs, biotechnology, information technology, the Director General of Health services, India's Aids Research Institute, the Indian Council of Medical Research, and also representatives from states.