WHO grants emergency use listing to COVID vaccine

pharmafile | November 4, 2021 | News story | Business Services  

WHO has approved Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in individuals aged 18 years and above.

Two doses of Covaxin can be administered at an interval of four weeks in individuals aged 18 years and above. This approval should help gaps in global coronavirus vaccine supplies, especially in low income countries.

Developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology, Pune, Covaxin is an inactivated virus-based COVID-19 vaccine found to be 78% effective against mild, moderate, and severe COVID-19.

Without access to vaccines, those in low-income countries face risks with the virus circulating and mutating, also increasing the risks of new variants emerging. The emergency use approval should also boost the UN-backed Covax programme, which aims to address COVID-19 vaccine inequality.

“Validation by WHO is a very significant step towards ensuring global access to India’s widely administered, safe, and efficacious Covaxin,” stated Bharat Biotech chairman and managing director, Dr Krishna Ella. “The EUL authorisation for Covaxin will enable us to contribute to accelerating the equitable access of COVID-19 vaccines and the access to our vaccine, globally thereby addressing the current public health emergency.”

WHO stated: “The Technical Advisory Group, convened by WHO and made up of regulatory experts from around the world, has determined that the Covaxin vaccine meets WHO standards for protection against COVID-19 and that the benefit of the vaccine far outweighs risks, and the vaccine can be used.”

An expert committee on COVID vaccines in India also recommended granting emergency use authorisation for using Covaxin on children in the age group of 2 to 18 years. The Drugs Controller General of India will be the one to give the final approval of this.

Ana Ovey

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