If the Indian Coronavirus Vaccine is Priced at ₹225, We’ll Have Bill Gates to Thank for It


If the Indian Coronavirus Vaccine is Priced at ₹225, We’ll Have Bill Gates to Thank for It

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

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.

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.

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.

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.