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China’s Sinopharm given WHO emergency use listing for COVID-19 vaccine

WHO said decision gives the 'green light' for the vaccine to be rolled out globally

Chinese state-owned company Sinopharm has received an emergency use listing from the World Health Organization (WHO) for its inactivated COVID-19 vaccine.

The WHO has announced that it had listed the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, saying in a statement that the decision gives the ‘green light’ for the jab to be rolled out globally.

A WHO EUL is designed to enable potential vaccines to become available globally at a faster rate, by expediting access to products in many countries across the globe.

It is also a prerequisite to supplying vaccines to the international vaccines-sharing facility COVAX.

Sinopharm previously reported that the vaccine has a ‘protective efficacy’ against COVID-19 of 79.34%, based on results from phase 3 clinical trial that took place across China, UAE and Bahrain.

In a statement, the WHO also added that the vaccine’s ‘easy storage requirements make it highly suitable for low-resource settings’, while other vaccines – such as Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech’s mRNA-based jabs – carry requirements for ultra-low storage temperatures which can make global distribution difficult.

“The addition of this vaccine has the potential to rapidly accelerate COVID-19 vaccine access for countries seeking to protect health workers and populations at risk,” said Mariângela Simão, assistant-director general for access to health products at the WHO.

“We urge the manufacturer to participate in the COVAX Facility and contribute to the goal of more equitable vaccine distribution,” she added.

COVAX is the vaccine pillar of the WHO’s ACT Accelerator – a collaborative initiative co-led by Gavi, the WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) that is working to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines.

According to Reuters, Sinopharm has so far supplied over 200 million doses domestically in China, with the vaccine being exported to a number of countries, particularly Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Another vaccine developed in China by Sinovac could also receive a decision on a WHO EUL for its COVID-19 vaccine this week, following a review last wek by a technical advisory group.

Regarding Sinopharm’s plans to provide doses to COVAX, Bruce Aylward, senior adviser to the WHO, commented: "They [Sinopharm] are looking at trying to provide substantial support, make substantial doses available while at the same time, of course, trying to serve China's population."

Article by
Lucy Parsons

10th May 2021

From: Regulatory

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