New Delhi: The decision to include Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin in World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergency use list (EUL) may be taken within four to six weeks, the global health body’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan was quoted as saying by PTI.
Swaminathan stated that WHO is reviewing Covaxin as the manufacturers Bharat Biotech are uploading its entire data on the official portal. As per WHO guidelines, EUL is a procedure to streamline the process by which new or unlicensed products can be used during public health emergencies.
“There is a process to be followed for EUL and pre-qualification of vaccines under which a company has to complete phase 3 trials and submit the whole data to the regulatory department of WHO which is examined by an expert advisory group,” Swaminathan said at a webinar organised by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Friday, PTI reported.
Currently, six vaccines have been granted EUL and have recommendations from Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE). “We continue to look at Covaxin. Bharat Biotech has now started uploading their data on our portal and that is the next vaccine that will be reviewed by our experts committee,” the chief scientist said.
At present, there are 105 candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation out of which 27 are in phase three or four, she said. There are another 184 candidate vaccines in preclinical evaluation. Most of the vaccines are designed for a two-dose schedule, she added.
On the Delta variant of the coronavirus, The WHO chief scientist said it is very transmissible. “Two complete doses are required for protection against the Delta variant but you can still get the infection and can transmit it. This is why masking and other precautions are important to continue,” she said.