WHO expert panel on Covid-19 vaccines to meet today, Covaxin on agenda

Covaxin, India’s indigenously-developed vaccine against coronavirus disease (Covid-19), has so far not received the much-coveted emergency use approval from the World Health Organization (WHO) but is likely to do so soon. An expert panel of the global health body is meeting on Tuesday, October 5, to decide on, among other things, Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin getting the Emergency Use Listing (EUL) authorisation, according to documents detailing the committee’s agenda for the meeting and the assessment status of pending applications for vaccine candidates. Top health experts say the approval of the vaccine shouldn’t be delayed after reviewing the data this month.

The Strategic Advisory Group of Expert on Immunization (SAGE) will be conducting a meeting on Tuesday regarding the EUL to Covaxin. The expert panel started its four-day meet on October 4 to decide on policy guidance. This is especially important in light of the fact that all vaccine dossiers submitted to the WHO must go through both SAGE and a technical advisory group, which is also meeting this month, for EUL or pre-qualification.

So far, the World Health Organization has only included six Covid-19 vaccine candidates in its EUL. These are the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine—which is being manufactured as Covishieldby the Serum Institute of India—the Moderna jab and the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines.