WHO gives emergency approval for Chinese anti-Covid Sinovac vaccine

The World Health Organization on Tuesday gave its emergency approval for the Chinese anti-Covid vaccine Sinovac, the UN agency said in a statement.

The WHO vaccine expert committee has recommended this vaccine, which requires two doses at two to four week intervals for people 18 years of age and older.

It is the second Chinese vaccine to thus obtain the green light from the WHO, which can thus integrate the Covax international system for the distribution of anti-Covid sera, particularly in disadvantaged countries.

“The world is in desperate need of many anti-Covid 19 vaccines to cope with the huge inequalities around the world,” said Dr Mariangela Simao, WHO Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines and Medicines. health.

The WHO had already approved the Sinopharm, manufactured in Beijing, on May 7.

The effectiveness of Sinovac is 51% to prevent symptomatic Covid cases but 100% to avoid the most serious cases and hospitalizations, on the populations studied, specifies the WHO. Effectiveness for those over 60 years of age could not be assessed.

This serum – of inactivated vaccine type – “is easy to store which makes it easy to manage and particularly suitable for countries with few resources”, underlines the agency.

The Chinese Ambassador to the UN, Chen Xu, assured that “China will continue to work with the international community to promote access to anti-Covid vaccines at affordable prices especially in developing countries “.

The organization has also already given the green light to Moderna’s vaccine, to that of Pfizer-BioNTech, to the two AstraZeneca serums manufactured in India and South Korea (WHO counts this for two approvals even if the product is identical, Editor’s note) and that of Johnson & Johnson, called Janssen.

– Administered in 22 countries and territories –

WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on May 24, 2021 in Geneva (World Health Organization / AFP / Archives – Christopher Black)

This procedure helps countries that do not have the means to determine the efficacy and safety of a drug on their own to gain faster access to therapies. And it will allow the Covax system, set up by the WHO with partners (the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization – Gavi – and the Coalition for Innovations in Epidemic Preparedness), to consider having additional vaccines.

The anti-Covid Sinovac vaccine is currently administered in 22 countries and territories – mainly emerging and developing countries – according to an AFP database, compiled from official sources.

Besides China, it is used in Tunisia, Chile, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand and Turkey.

In terms of the number of countries using it, it is the 7th vaccine in the world, behind that of AstraZeneca / Oxford (used in at least 168 countries and territories), Pfizer / BioNTech (at least 97), Moderna (at least 46), Sinopharm (at least 45), Sputnik V (at least 40) and Johnson & Johnson (at least 29). In Europe, as defined by the WHO, only Turkey, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Northern Cyprus use it to date.

The Director General of WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, welcomed this approval, but he also stressed to the press the pressing needs in funding to try to overcome vaccine inequalities.

“It is crucial now to get these life-saving tools quickly to the people who need them,” he said.

He also recalled that the Covax system is organizing a donor summit on Wednesday to try to reach the goal of $ 8.3 billion which would provide 1.8 billion doses of vaccines in 2021 and early 2022 to 92 countries. the poorest participating in Covax and thus protecting 30% of their population.

“While we are encouraged that the number of infections continues to decline in many areas, there is no room for sagging,” warned Dr Tedros.

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