The World Health Organization has approved a coronavirus vaccine made by China’s Sinovac Biotechfor emergency use as the international health authority seeks to expand the number of vaccines it distributes to fight the pandemic in poor countries, where immunization rates badly trail that in wealthier nations.
The WHO has determined the two-dose, inactivated vaccine produced by Beijing-based Sinovac is safe for adults 18 and older, it said Tuesday.
The vaccine prevented symptomatic coronavirus infections in a little more than half of participants in clinical trials and prevented severe infections and hospitalization in 100% of participants.
It’s the second Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine to pass WHO vetting—a vaccine made by China’s state-backed Sinopharm was approved for emergency use in May—and the eighth worldwide.
The WHO’s emergency use designation will pave the way for Sinovac doses to be distributed to developing countries as part of the COVAX initiative.
The WHO noted the Sinovac immunization doesn’t have as rigorous storage specifications as other vaccines, making it more “manageable” for distribution in developing areas.
“The world desperately needs multiple COVID-19 vaccines to address the huge access inequity across the globe,” Dr. Mariângela Simão, the WHO;s Assistant-Director General for Access to Health Products, in a statement Tuesday. “We urge manufacturers to participate in the COVAX Facility, share their knowhow and data and contribute to bringing the pandemic under control.”
What To Watch For
The approval of a third Chinese coronavirus vaccine. CanSino Biologics submitted data from a clinical trial for its vaccine candidate, but the WHO has not announced a date for a review.
Sinovac’s Covid-19 Vaccine Appears Safe And Prompts ‘Quick’ Immune Response, Study Finds (Forbes)