The World Health Organization (WHO) announced yesterday that it has approved a COVID-19 vaccine made by Sinovac Biotech (SVA.O) for emergency use listing, paving the way for a second Chinese shot to be used in poor countries.
A WHO emergency listing is a signal to national regulators of a product’s safety and efficacy and will allow the Sinovac shot to be included in COVAX, the global programme providing vaccines mainly for poor countries, which faces major supply problems due to curbs on Indian exports.
The WHO’s independent panel of experts said in a statement it recommended Sinovac’s vaccine for adults over 18. There was no upper age limit as data suggested it is likely to have a protective effect in older people. Vaccine efficacy results showed that the vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 51% of those vaccinated and prevented severe COVID-19 and hospitalization in 100% of the studied population.
The WHO’s technical advisory group, which began meeting on May 5, made the decision after reviewing the latest clinical data on the Sinovac vaccine’s safety and efficacy as well as the company’s manufacturing practices.
Branded CoronaVac in some regions, it is the 8th vaccine to win such a WHO listing to combat COVID-19 and the second developed by a Chinese company, after the May 7 approval of a shot developed by state-backed Sinopharm. While a third Chinese vaccine, produced by CanSino Biologics (6185.HK), has submitted clinical trial data, no WHO review has been scheduled.
Sinovac said that it had supplied more than 600 million doses of its vaccine at home and abroad as of end-May and over 430 million doses have been administered.
SAGE’s, the principal advisory group to WHO for vaccines and immunization, interim recommendations on Sinovac-CoronaVac are available online as of today.