WHO to consider emergency use listing of Covaxin in meet today

WHO has said it “cannot cut corners” to recommend Covaxin’s inclusion in the EUL for vaccination against Covid-19. The agency said last week it was expecting one additional piece of information from the Covaxin manufacturer, which has been submitting data on a rolling basis.
A health worker prepares a dose of the Covaxin Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination center set up at a Delhi government health dispensary in New Delhi, India. (Bloomberg)
A health worker prepares a dose of the Covaxin Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination center set up at a Delhi government health dispensary in New Delhi, India. (Bloomberg)
Published on Oct 26, 2021 05:31 AM IST
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Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The World Health Organization (WHO) will meet on Tuesday to consider much-coveted emergency use approval to Covaxin, India's indigenously-made vaccine against coronavirus disease (Covid-19). According to WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, the global health body's technical advisory group will meet on October 26 to consider the emergency use listing (EUL) for Covaxin, which is already being used nationwide in the inoculation campaign against the pandemic.

Also Read | Centre writes to states over delay in giving second dose of Covid-19 vaccine

Bharat Biotech, the Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company which developed Covaxin, has now been waiting for months for the specialised United Nations (UN) agency to provide a formal nod to its Covid-19 vaccine. It had submitted the Expression of Interest (EOI) for the emergency use approval as far back as April 19, but WHO has said it needs more data from the company before showing the green light.

Last week, a top official of the global health body said the process of thoroughly evaluating a vaccine for use and recommending it sometimes takes a long time but it has to be ensured that the right advice is given to the world “even if it takes another week or two.”

Also Read | As Covaxin awaits nod, WHO official says, ‘it takes longer sometimes’

Dr Mike Ryan, the executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said that the UN agency is “very clear” that it wants all countries to recognise vaccines that have been given a EUL by the WHO advisory process. “But it is also very important that WHO, when it makes a recommendation like that, is making that globally,” Ryan added.

WHO has said it “cannot cut corners” to recommend Covaxin’s inclusion in the EUL for vaccination against Covid-19. The agency said it is expecting one additional piece of information from the Covaxin manufacturer which has been submitting data on a rolling basis.

The WHO nod for Covaxin’s emergency use authorisation is a much-anticipated one for its widespread acceptability as a safe and effective vaccine. Presently, India is using Covaxin in its nationwide inoculation drive against Covid-19 as one of the six vaccines approved by the Drugs Controller General of India for the same, including the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield and the Russian-made Sputnik V.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2021