Source: Nworeport

PARIS, France: The World Health Organization has approved the emergency use of the Indian-made Covid vaccine Covaxin, allowing its distribution to poor countries worldwide.

In a tweet, the WHO wrote that its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization determined that the vaccine met its standards for protection against COVID-19, noting that its benefits significantly outweighed any risks it poses.

The group also recommended Covaxin’s use over two doses with an interval of four weeks for those 18 and above, in line with the company’s guidelines.

Even before its major trial was completed, Covaxin was given emergency-use authorization in India in January. It later proved to be 78 percent effective against severe illness caused by COVID-19.

The WHO’s decision is expected to help millions of Indians who have been vaccinated with Covaxin and seek to travel outside the country.

The approval will also enable Bharat Biotech to ship Covaxin to countries that rely on the WHO’s guidance for their regulatory decisions, and will enable India to send supplies to the COVAX global vaccine sharing program.

India has donated or sold more than 66 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, including Covaxin, before it suspended exports in April.

In a statement, Bharat Biotech said it will have an annualized Covaxin production capacity of 1 billion doses by the end of 2021, and is in the process of sharing its technology with other companies, both inside and outside India.

“It is important for Bharat Biotech to improve its production capacity to meet the growing demand for other countries following this approval,” said Prashant Khadayate, pharma analyst at GlobalData, as quoted by Reuters.

According to GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center, Covaxin was the second-most popular vaccine, after Covishield, during India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive.

Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is the seventh Covid vaccine to be approved by the WHO.