Geneva: The Covovax Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India gets World Health Organisation's (WHO) approval for emergency use, The News Minute reports. The vaccine, licenced under Novavax, is the ninth Covid-19 vaccine that entered WHO's Emergency Use Listing (EUL).
WHO said that the vaccine had met the standards for protection against Covid-19 as per the Technical Advisory Group of Emergency Use Listing. The benefits of the vaccine overcame its risks, and it could be used globally, the organisation said.
WHO's Assistant -Director-General for Access to Medicine and Health Products, Dr Mariângela Simão, said that the EUL will increase lower-income countries' access to the vaccine. There are 41 such countries that have not inoculated at least 10% of their populations, while 98 have not reached 40%.
Meanwhile, the CEO of Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla, tweeted that the vaccine getting approval was another milestone in their Covid-19 fight. The vaccine showed excellent efficacy and safety, he added. Poonawalla had earlier announced the Serum Institutes plans to launch the Covovax for children. He had claimed that the vaccine would immunise children as young as three years of age.
The phase 3 clinical trial data suggested that Covovax is 90 per cent effective in preventing disease out of Covid-19. It is 100 per cent effective against moderate and severe illness, and ensuing hospitalisation. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was conducted by a team from the University of Maryland.
It subjected around 30,000 adults at 113 sites in the United States as well as six sites in Mexico. Twenty thousand of the subjects received both doses of the vaccine in a span of three weeks, while the rest were jabbed with placebos.
But the trial was run during the early months of 2021 and was tested only against the Alpha variant of Covid-19, which was the major strain in circulation then.