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Serum Institute to provide Covid vaccine to 92 countries at Rs 250 a dose

Partners with Gavi, Gates Foundation, will provide 100 mn doses to Covax, a WHO initiative led by Gavi and CEPI

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Bill Gates Covid Vaccine

Serum Institute of India (SII) has inked a pact with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, to make 100 million doses of a potential vaccine. This is for low- and medium-income countries, and with a price cap of Rs 250 a dose.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, via its Strategic Investment Fund, will provide at-risk funding of $150 million to Gavi for supporting SII in the manufacture, the company noted.

Priced at $3 a dose, the vaccines will be made available in 92 countries, including India. These are those included in Gavi’s Covax Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

Covax is an initiative by the World Health Organization (WHO) — which is managed by Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) — to ensure equitable distribution of the vaccine.

SII also has a tie-up with Oxford-AstraZeneca for its candidate AZD1222, which is under advanced stages of clinical trial. SII will supply 1 billion doses to AstraZeneca, which has already committed to 2 billion doses of AZD1222.

SII plans to make 300 million doses of AZD1222 by December, and will begin phase-2 trials soon. It has also tied up with Novavax for development and commercialisation of its candidate. It will have exclusive rights for that in India (during the term of the deal) and non-exclusive rights during the ‘pandemic period’ in all countries, besides upper-middle or high income countries.

SII said Gavi and the Foundation would provide upfront capital to help increase manufacturing capacity. The funding will aid at-risk manufacturing by SII for AstraZeneca’s and Novavax’s candidates, which will be available for procurement if they are successful in attaining full licensure and WHO’s pre-qualification. The arrangement also provides the option to secure additional doses if the vaccines arm of the ACT Accelerator sees the need.

Serum’s tie-ups with AstraZeneca and Novavax will continue. Besides the 100 million doses it will supply to Gavi-led Covax (at Rs 250 each), it will be free to price the vaccines in India. “To make our fight against Covid-19 stronger and all-embracing, SII has partnered with Gavi and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to advance the manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of future Covid vaccines for India, along with low- and middle-income countries in 2021,” said Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum.

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Prince Charles highlights Covid-19 impact on youngsters

Prince Charles, who had tested positive for the virus earlier this year, has set up the Young People Relief Fund to provide extra support to young people affected by the impact of the virus.

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Prince Charles

London, Sep 27 : The UK’s Prince Charles on Sunday highlighted the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic on young people, saying it was a “particularly difficult time to be young”.

“For anyone, this is a difficult time – but it is a particularly difficult time to be young,” the BBC quoted the Prince of Wales as saying in an article published in the Sunday Telegraph.

He compared the current situation to “other times when hope was scarce”, citing concerns over youth unemployment in the 1970s that prompted him to set up his charity, the Prince’s Trust which helps people aged between 11 and 30 seek employment opportunities and life skills.

“This year, we celebrate the fact that over the last nearly 45 years, we have helped a million young people to change their lives for the better,” he wrote in the article.

“Over all these years since the trust was launched, there has never been an easy time.

“However, there has never been a time as uniquely challenging as the present, when the pandemic has left perhaps another million young people needing urgent help to protect their futures.

“The task ahead is unquestionably vast, but it is not insurmountable,” he was quoted as saying.

Prince Charles, who had tested positive for the virus earlier this year, has set up the Young People Relief Fund to provide extra support to young people affected by the impact of the virus.

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Serum Institute CEO has a question for govt: ‘Will it have Rs 80k cr to give each Indian Covid vaccine’

Serum Institute of India has the licence to produce and market two of the leading vaccine candidates, one being developed by AstraZeneca and the Oxford University, and the other one by US company Novavax.

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Covid 19 Vaccine

New Delhi: Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawala Saturday asked if the government will have Rs 80,000 crore available over the next one year to buy and distribute the Covid-19 vaccine.

Terming it as “next concerning challenge” that needs to be tackled, Poonawala tweeted, “Quick question; will the government of India have 80,000 crores available, over the next one year? Because that’s what @MoHFW_INDIA needs, to buy and distribute the vaccine to everyone in India.”

He also tagged the prime minister’s office in his tweet. “I ask this question, because we need to plan and guide, vaccine manufacturers both in India and overseas to service the needs of our country in terms of procurement and distribution,” he added.

SII, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, has the licence to produce and market two of the leading vaccine candidates, one being developed by AstraZeneca and the Oxford University, and the other one by US company Novavax. The Oxford University vaccine is currently undergoing phase-II and phase-III trials in India. Earlier, the institute had announced that it will make the Oxford vaccine available at USD 3 for low-and-middle-income countries including India.

Apart from bringing some of the leading contenders of a coronavirus vaccine to India, the Serum is developing its own vaccine as well. It is partnering with SpyBiotech, a spin-off of Oxford University, for this purpose. Their vaccine candidate has entered into combined phase-I/phase-II clinical trials, which are being done in Australia. The trials began in the first week of September.

Meanwhile, while addressing the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that as the largest vaccine producing country of the world, India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help people across the world. “As the largest vaccine producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today. India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis,” PM Modi said.

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Health

Eyesight problems rising among kids

Besides, cases of reflective errors in terms of myopia and hypermetropia have also surfaced among children.

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childrens vision problems

Lucknow, Sep 26 : With children spending more time on computers and mobile phones for online classes and gaming, cases of eye sight problems are on the rise.

Children and teens between the ages of 6 and 18 years have been found to be suffering from convergence efficiency, computer vision syndrome, reflective errors and other eye sight problems.

According to rough estimates, nearly 40 per cent children have complained of various eye and vision related problems in recent weeks.

Majority of the children are being diagnosed with convergence insufficiency — a condition in which the eyes are unable to work together when looking at nearby objects. This condition causes one eye to turn outward instead of inward with the other eye, creating double or blurred vision, said Anil Rastogi, a well-known ophthalmologist.

Children working long hours on computers and smart phones usually complain of itching or burning in eyes, watering, loss of retention power, besides headache and eye pain, Rastogi added.

Shikha Kumar, another ophthalmologist, said that since the national lockdown, most children have been found to be spending eight to 10 hours on electronic devices.

“They are either attending online classes, or watching cartoons or television and playing video games. Parents feel that this is the best way to keep them occupied but this prolonged exposure to electronic devices is playing havoc with their eyesight,” she pointed out.

Doctors say that children are being diagnosed with computer vision syndrome where they complain of pain, redness, dryness, blurring of vision, double vision and other head and neck sprains.

Besides, cases of reflective errors in terms of myopia and hypermetropia have also surfaced among children.

Doctors suggest eye exercises, frequent breaks from TV/computer/ mobile phone screens to prevent permanent damage to the eyes.

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