WHO’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said if the Hyderabad-based company furnishes the data in time, the global health agency will meet and discuss it on 3 November
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NEW DELHI :
The global rollout of Covaxin has run into further delays with the World Health Organization (WHO) seeking more clarifications from its manufacturer Bharat Biotech Ltd, even as the US opened its doors for those vaccinated with India’s first indigenously developed vaccine.
The global health agency’s technical advisory group (TAG) discussed granting emergency use listing (EUL) for Covaxin on Tuesday but did not come to a decision.
WHO’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said if the Hyderabad-based company furnishes the data in time, the global health agency will meet and discuss it on 3 November.
“The @WHO independent TAG met today and asked for additional clarifications from the manufacturer @BharatBiotech to conduct a final EUL risk-benefit assessment for global use of #Covaxin. It will reconvene for the final assessment on Wednesday, 3 November if data is received soon," Swaminathan said in a tweet.
Swaminathan also said the WHO’s goal is to have a broad portfolio of vaccines approved for emergency use and expand access to populations everywhere. The approval holds importance for Indians vaccinated with Covaxin. WHO’s EUL will facilitate global travel for Indians who have received the locally developed vaccine. The delay has been impacting students and businessmen who want to travel to countries where a vaccination certificate for WHO-approved vaccines is mandatory.
Meanwhile, in some relief for those fully vaccinated with Covaxin, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Wednesday permitted such individuals who were part of the vaccine’s phase-3 trials to travel to the US without restrictions.
As of Wednesday, over 118 million doses of Covaxin have been administered in India. WHO’s EUL is a prerequisite for supplying vaccines under Covax, a multilateral initiative to foster global access to covid vaccines. A potential approval will also place Covaxin in an important spot on the world map, as it can be supplied to more countries.
Covaxin has received EULs from 14 countries, and another 50 are in the process. In June, the drugmaker said its US partner Ocugen received a recommendation from the US Food and Drug Administration to pursue biologics license applications (BLA) for Covaxin.