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NEW DELHI : The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) technical advisory group will consider granting Emergency use listing (EUL) for Bharat Biotech's covid-19 vaccine Covaxin in a meeting scheduled on Tuesday.

Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at WHO said that WHO’s goal is to have a broad portfolio of vaccines approved for emergency use and to expand access to populations everywhere.

 “The technical advisory group will meet on Oct 26th to consider EUL for #Covaxin. @WHO has been working closely with @BharatBiotech to complete the dossier," Swaminathan said in a recent tweet.

If granted, the approval will hold importance of people in India vaccinated with covaxin as WHO’s approval will facilitate international travel for Indians who have received the home-made vaccine under India’s national covid vaccination programme. The delay has been impacting students and businessmen who want to travel to countries where a vaccination certificate for WHO-approved vaccines is mandatory.  As on Monday over 11.70 crores doses of covaxin have been administered in India among different age group above 18.

WHO’s EUL is a prerequisite for supplying vaccines under the Covax Facility, a multilateral initiative aimed at fostering global access to covid vaccines. If done, the approval, will also place Covaxin in an important spot in the world map as it can be given to more and more countries.  

The UN health agency on October 5 had said that Covaxin manufacturer, Bharat Biotech, has been submitting data to WHO on a rolling basis and submitted additional info at WHO’s request on 27 September. WHO experts are currently reviewing this info and if it addresses all questions raised, WHO assessment will be finalized next week, the apex global public health agency had said.

Covaxin, India’s first indigenously developed covid vaccine, has received EUAs from 14 countries and another 50 are in the process. In June, the drugmaker had said that its US partner, Ocugen, has received a recommendation from the US Food and Drug Administration to pursue biologics license applications (BLA) for Covaxin. Applications have to follow the BLA process, which is the standard for vaccines.

 “Covaxin’s clinical trial data was fully compiled with and made available in June. All data was submitted to WHO for EUL application in early July. We have responded to all clarifications sought by WHO and are awaiting further feedback. We are diligently working with WHO to obtain EUL at the earliest," the Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company tweeted on 28 September. On 21 August, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya met Swaminathan, to discuss the approval process for Covaxin.

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