By Arré Bench Aug. 11, 2020
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announced that he would provide funding of $150 million to the Serum Institute of India. This in turn will bring the price of its coronavirus vaccine down to $3 per patient (₹225 for Indians), ensuring that those from lower-income countries can afford the medication as well.
Ever since the lockdown was imposed over the coronavirus, the world has eagerly been awaiting a cure that’ll put an end to this pandemic. So far, the closest we’ve come to bringing things back to the way they were in 2019, is through a number of candidate vaccines developed by the Serum Institute of India.
On Friday, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announced that he would spend a large sum of money to ensure that the price of these potential vaccines remains low.
We are pleased to announce that we are collaborating with the @SerumInstIndia and the @GatesFoundation to accelerate manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of future #COVID19 vaccines for low- and middle-income countries in 2021: https://t.co/ogIp5dWTNy
— Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (@gavi) August 7, 2020
Under the new collaboration, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will provide at-risk funding of $150 million to the Serum Institute of India, which in turn will bring the price of its vaccines down to $3 per patient (₹225 for Indians), ensuring that those from lower-income countries can afford the medication as well.
Gates, who has often stressed the “catastrophic” effects the coronavirus could have on lower-income countries, made the announcement on Friday.
— Gates Foundation (@gatesfoundation) August 7, 2020
The Serum Institute is planning to produce up to 100 million doses of a vaccine, which should be made available in 93 low-income countries as early as 2021, reports said.
This injection of capital from the Bill and Melinda Foundation will help the institute increase its manufacturing capacity, so once a vaccine is approved by the World Health Organisation, more doses can be made.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, via its Strategic Investment Fund, will provide at-risk funding of US$150 million to Gavi, which will be used to support SII to manufacture vaccine candidates from AstraZeneca& Novavax. They in process of attaining licensure &WHO Prequalification
— Sudhir Suryawanshi (@ss_suryawanshi) August 7, 2020
I would like to thank @BillGates, @gatesfoundation, @GaviSeth for this key partnership of risk sharing and manufacturing of a 100 million doses, which will also ensure equitable access at an affordable price to many countries around the world. https://t.co/NDmpo23Ay8 pic.twitter.com/jNaNh6xUPy
— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) August 7, 2020
This isn’t the first time Bill Gates has stepped in to help since the pandemic struck.
Before the announcement on Friday, Gates had already promised $100 million to “Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance” for purchasing and distributing a number of potential vaccines. Two months ago, Gates also pledged to put in $1.6 billion over the next five years to expand the distribution of the vaccines further.
In a recent interview, the philanthropist said he was optimistic that the coronavirus vaccine will be developed soon, and that the “rich world” should largely be able to end the pandemic by 2021 end, while the “world at large” will finally eliminate the virus by the end of 2022. As coronavirus cases continue to pile up, let’s hope he’s right.