Home / News / India /  Serum Institute, Novavax to supply 1.1 billion vaccine doses to Covax

NEW DELHI: Novavax Inc. late on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, wherein the US-based firm and its partner, and the Serum Institute of India will provide 1.1 billion cumulative doses of protein-subunit covid-19 vaccine to the Covax facility.

“It (the MoU) helps us close in on our goal of delivering two billion doses in 2021 (through Covax) and increases the range of vaccines available to us as we build a portfolio suitable for all settings and contexts," Gavi chief executive officer Seth Berkley was quoted as saying in a statement by Novavax late Thursday.

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Covax facility is aimed at equitable access to covid-19 vaccines, and is jointly led by the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

Serum Institute will produce the vaccine, codenamed NVX-CoV2373 by Novavax, under its brand Covovax at its facility in Pune.

For supply of the vaccine to Covax, Novavax is expected to supply doses primarily to high-income countries, while Serum Institute, the world’s largest vaccine maker by volume, will provide majority of its supply to low-, middle, and upper-middle-income countries and utilise a tiered pricing schedule, Novovax said.

“This global collaboration is vital to ensure that the largest possible amount of vaccine is available to reach individuals across the broadest segment of countries," said Serum Institute of India chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla was quoted as saying in the statement.

Covovax is scheduled to soon start a phase 2 and 3 bridging study in India, which aims to prove that the version manufactured by Serum Institute is the same as that developed by Novavax.

Novavax had last month announced that its vaccine had an efficacy of 89.3% in its Phase 3 clinical trial conducted in the UK. The efficacy trial was the first to be conducted when the mutated UK strain was the dominant variant of SARS-CoV2.

In a trial in South Africa, where the dominant strain was another highly transmissible mutated variant, the efficacy was 60%, the company said.

Both efficacy results were higher than the 50% cutoff set by the WHO and other regulators for covid-19 vaccine.

The agreement on Thursday follows an earlier funding pact signed in May between Novavax and CEPI, wherein the US-based firm received nearly $400 million for development of the vaccine in lieu of scaling up manufacturing capacity in multiple countries to potentially produce over one billion doses in 2021 for global supply.

Serum Institute had also signed a pact with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for $300 million in funding in lieu of providing at least 200 million doses of both Covovax and Covishield vaccine.

Covishield is Serum Institute’s version of the vaccine co-developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca plc, and has received authorisation from the Indian regulator and emergency use listing from the WHO.

Poonawalla had earlier said the company plans to produce around 1 billion doses cumulatively of Covishield and Covovax, with half of those doses likely to be supplied to India.

For Covishield, of the 240 million doses that Serum Institute plans to supply to Covax by June, over 97 million is expected to be distributed in India itself, according to the interim distribution forecast of Covax.

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