Serum Institute of India (SII) has expanded its alliance with Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to produce and deliver up to an additional 100 million Covid-19 vaccine doses for low-and middle-income countries (LMICs).

In August, the partners announced an agreement for up to 100 million doses, which brings the total number of doses covered by the collaboration to up to 200 million.

The expanded partnership is intended to speed up the manufacturing and delivery of the vaccine doses, priced at a maximum of $3 per dose, for LMICs next year.

This delivery will be part of the Gavi COVAX AMC, a mechanism under the COVAX Facility.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, through its Strategic Investment Fund, will offer at-risk funding of $150m to Gavi directed to SII as an upfront capital to support vaccine production.

This will take the total funding provided through this partnership to $300m.

The funding will expedite the manufacturing of vaccine candidates licensed by SII from AstraZeneca and Novavax, procured once the companies obtain full licensure and WHO Prequalification.

To date, 73 higher-income countries agreed to join the COVAX Facility while 92 LMICs are eligible for the Gavi COVAX AMC support.

Under the expanded alliance, AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate will be available to 61 Gavi-eligible countries and Novavax’s candidate to the 92 Gavi COVAX AMC-supported countries. Availability is subject to the success of the vaccines.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance CEO Dr Seth Berkley said: “No country, rich or poor, should be left at the back of the queue when it comes to Covid-19 vaccines; this collaboration brings us another step closer to achieving this goal.”

In a separate development, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Egyptian pharmaceutical company Pharco signed a deal to supply 25 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine to Egypt.

Furthermore, RDIF partnered with Trinity Pharmaceuticals to supply 25 million doses of the vaccine to Nepal.

These deals will provide 25% of Egypt’s population and 90% of Nepal’s population with access to Sputnik V.