The WHO approves a Covid-19 vaccine from China’s Sinopharm for emergency use

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday approved a COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese state-owned company Sinopharm for emergency use, an incentive for Beijing to play a big role in vaccinating the world.

The vaccine, one of the two main Chinese coronavirus vaccines given to hundreds of millions of people in China and elsewhere, is the first developed by a non-Western country to win the support of WHO.

It is also the first time that the WHO has authorized emergency use of a Chinese vaccine for an infectious disease. Earlier this week, individual WHO experts had expressed concerns about the quality of the data the company provided on side effects.

A WHO emergency list is a signal to national regulators that a product is safe and effective. It also makes it possible to include it in COVAX, a global vaccine delivery program, mainly for poor countries, which are facing supply problems.

“This expands the list of COVID-19 vaccines COVAX can purchase, and gives countries the confidence to accelerate their own regulatory approval and to import and administer a vaccine,” Director General Tedros Adhanom told Ghebreyesus. from WHO during a briefing.

Senior WHO adviser Bruce Aylward said it would be up to Sinopharm to say how many doses of its vaccine it can deliver to the program, but added, “ They are trying to provide substantial support, make substantial doses available and at the same time be natural. try to serve the Chinese people. “

WHO had already issued emergency approvals for COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna last week.

‘Simple storage requirements’

The decision to approve Sinopharm’s vaccine was made by the WHO’s technical advisory group, which began meeting on April 26 to review the latest Sinopharm clinical data and manufacturing practices.

“Its simple storage requirements make it well suited for low resource environments,” said a WHO statement.

Tedros said that, following the approval, his separate Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) had recommended that adults over 18 years of age receive two doses of the Sinopharm vaccine.

“Based on all available evidence, the WHO is recommending the vaccine for adults 18 years and older, on a two-dose schedule three to four weeks apart,” the WHO statement said.

The vaccine, developed by Beijing Biological Products Institute, a unit of Sinopharm subsidiary China National Biotec Group, has an estimated efficacy of 79% across all age groups, it said.

However, it added, “There were few older adults (over 60 years old) enrolled in clinical studies, so efficacy could not be estimated in this age group.”

The WHO has said it could make a decision next week on China’s other major COVID-19 vaccine, made by Sinovac Biotech. The technical experts reviewed it on Wednesday.

Didier Laurent, chairman of the WHO’s technical advisory group, said at the press conference, “We have begun to review Sinovac’s report. We have asked the manufacturer for additional information … which we hope to receive very soon to provide a To make a decision. “

China has deployed about 65 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine and more than 200 million doses of the Sinovac shot. Both have been exported to many countries, particularly Latin America, Asia and Africa, many of which have struggled to secure the supply of vaccines developed in the West.

(REUTERS)

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