WHO approves India's Covaxin for emergency use

NOAH SEELAM / AFP

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday said it had approved Indian drugmaker Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.

It paves the way for the homegrown shot to be accepted as a valid vaccine in many poor countries.

"The Technical Advisory Group has determined that the Covaxin vaccine meets WHO standards for protection against COVID-19, that the benefit of the vaccine far outweighs risks and the vaccine can be used," WHO said in a tweet.

The WHO's advisory group was expected to make a decision on the shot known as Covaxin last week, but asked for additional clarifications from Bharat Biotech before conducting a final risk-benefit assessment for the vaccine's global use.

Covaxin was also reviewed by WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, which recommended its use in two doses, with an interval of four weeks, in all age groups 18 and above.

The emergency use listing would allow Bharat to ship the vaccine to countries that rely on WHO guidance for their regulatory decisions.

Covaxin is the seventh to win WHO backing following two mRNA shots by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, adenovirus vector vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, and China's inactivated vaccines from Sinovac Biotech and Sinopharm.

The nod also mean that the shot may be accepted as a valid vaccine for millions of Indians who have received it and want to travel outside the country.

Oman last week and Australia on Monday said they will recognise Covaxin as a valid vaccine for travellers.

More from International

  • Two charged with murder over Super Bowl parade shooting

    Two men have been charged with murder for a gunfight on the fringe of a Super Bowl victory rally in Kansas City, Missouri, that killed one person and wounded more than 20 others, including the suspects, in a quarrel over eye contact, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

  • Beijing shuts highways after heavy snowfall

    Authorities in Beijing shut some highways on Wednesday after heavier-than-expected snowfall hit the Chinese capital, part of a cold spell sweeping many parts of the country this week.

  • Police fire tear gas at Indian farmers marching on capital

    Indian police fired tear gas on Wednesday to scatter protesting farmers as they resumed a march to the capital, equipped with cranes and excavators after talks with the government on guaranteed prices for their produce failed to break a deadlock.

  • Pakistan's largest parties strike coalition deal

    Two major Pakistan political parties said on Tuesday that they had reached a formal agreement to form a coalition government, ending ten days of intense negotiations after an inconclusive national election did not return a clear majority.

  • UN food agency pauses deliveries to northern Gaza

    The World Food Programme said on Tuesday it was pausing deliveries of food aid to northern Gaza until conditions in the Palestinian enclave allow for safe distribution.