The country should have a vaccine against the COVID-19 virus by the end of this year, said Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute of India (SII) - the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume.
Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Poonawalla said starting December, the company will launch a COVID-19 vaccine.
"We are going to start trials in less than two weeks. The trial is in partnership with ICMR. We will start manufacturing vaccines by the end of August," Poonawalla said.
On Friday, the Serum Institute of India had announced the partnership with Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to accelerate the manufacture and delivery of up to 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for India and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, via its Strategic Investment Fund, will provide at-risk funding of $150 million to Gavi, which will be used to support the Serum Institute of India to manufacture potential vaccine candidates, and for future procurement of vaccines for low- and middle-income countries via Gavi’s COVAX AMC.
The funding will support at-risk manufacturing by SII for candidate vaccines from AstraZeneca and Novavax, which will be available for procurement if they are successful in attaining full licensure and WHO Prequalification.
On the price of the vaccine, he said that $3 is a risk-sharing price for the vaccine.
"$3 is a special price because of the funding we received. Pricing of the vaccine will be slightly higher once licenses are in place. Final pricing for the vaccine will be announced in two months," he added.