Serum Institute of India joins global network to boost production of affordable outbreak vaccines

The collaboration is expected to further CEPI’s work towards achieving its mission of delivering vaccines within 100 days of recognition of pandemic pathogen

Published - January 23, 2024 10:02 pm IST - Chennai

The Serum Institute of India (SII) will join a growing CEPI network of vaccine producers in the Global South to support more rapid, agile, and equitable responses to future disease outbreaks. CEPI — Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations — is an innovative global partnership working to accelerate the development of vaccines and other biologic countermeasures against epidemic and pandemic threats.

CEPI has articulated an aspirational goal: vaccines should be ready for initial authorisation and manufacturing at scale within 100 days of recognition of a pandemic pathogen, when appropriate. The addition of SII to the CEPI manufacturing network will be a significant boost to vaccine production efforts in Global South regions, and take it a step closer to achieving the 100 Days Mission.

The idea is to combine the process of delivering a vaccine within 100 days with improved surveillance providing earlier detection and warning, and swift use of interventions such as testing, contact tracing and social distancing to suppress disease transmission. According to CEPI, this would give the world a better chance of containing and controlling future pathogenic threats and averting the type of catastrophic global public health and socio-economic impacts caused by COVID-19.

The manufacturing network will focus on vaccine makers in the Global South near areas at high risk of outbreaks caused by deadly viral threats like Lassa Fever, Nipah, Disease X, and other pathogens with epidemic or pandemic potential prioritised by CEPI. The Global South broadly comprises Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia (excluding Israel, Japan, and South Korea), and Oceania (excluding Australia and New Zealand).

To prepare for such a scenario, CEPI is investing up to $30 million to build upon SII’s proven track record of rapid response to outbreaks of infectious diseases, expanding the company’s existing ability to swiftly supply investigational vaccines in the face of epidemic and pandemic threats, according to a press release. This would then enable CEPI-backed vaccine developers to quickly transfer their technology to their partners within days or weeks of an outbreak to begin rapid production and equitable distribution of affordable vaccines to affected populations.

The release quoted Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI:“As part of CEPI’s global manufacturing network, SII’s world-renowned manufacturing and rapid response capabilities are poised to play a critical role in enabling swift and equitable access to affordable outbreak vaccines for the Global South.”

Adar Poonawalla, CEO of SII, commented: “As a leading vaccine manufacturer, we’re committed to utilising our well-established manufacturing and rapid response capabilities to strengthen epidemic preparedness and increase access to life-saving vaccines for those who need them most at an affordable price. This collaboration will enable us to respond more rapidly and equitably to public health disease outbreaks.”

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