COVID-19: WHO issues emergency-use listing for by Serum Institute of India’s Covovax

Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of Serum Institute of India (SII), hailed WHO’s decision as “yet another milestone” in the fight against COVID-19.

Covovax is still awaiting emergency use authorisation from India's drug regulator DCGI. (Reuters)
Covovax is still awaiting emergency use authorisation from India's drug regulator DCGI. (Reuters)

The World Health Organisation on Friday issued emergency use listing for anti-Covid vaccine Covovax produced by Serum Institute of India under licence from Novavax, expanding the basket of jabs validated by the global health body against the viral disease.

Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of Serum Institute of India (SII), hailed WHO’s decision as “yet another milestone” in the fight against COVID-19.

Earlier this week, Poonawalla had said that SII planned to launch Covovax in the next six months. He had stated that Covovax, which is under trial, would offer protection to children down to three years as it had shown excellent data during the trials.

“WHO issued an emergency use listing for Covovax, expanding the basket of WHO-validated vaccines against COVID-19. The vaccine is produced by the Serum Institute of India under licence from Novavax,” the world health body said in a tweet on Friday.

According to WHO, Covovax was assessed under its emergency use listing procedure based on the review of data on quality, safety and efficacy, a risk management plan, programmatic suitability, and manufacturing site inspections carried out by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).

“The Technical Advisory Group for Emergency Use Listing (TAG-EUL), convened by WHO and made up of experts from around the world, has determined that the vaccine meets WHO standards for protection against COVID-19, that the benefit of the vaccine far outweighs any risks, and that the vaccine can be used globally,” it said.

Reacting to the development, Poonawalla tweeted, “This is yet another milestone in our fight against COVID-19, Covovax is now WHO approved for emergency use, showing excellent safety and efficacy. Thank you all for a great collaboration…” He tagged Novavax, WHO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, its CEO Seth Berkley and the Gates Foundation to his tweet.

Currently, Covishield and other COVID-19 vaccines are approved for people above the age of 18. Poonawalla had asserted that there was enough data to show that Covovax would work and protect children against COVID-19.

Covovax is still awaiting emergency use authorisation from India’s drug regulator DCGI.

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