The World Health Organization on Friday announced it has granted emergency approval to the India-manufactured coronavirus vaccine Covovax, the ninth to be greenlighted by the global health body.
The move gives “a much-needed boost to ongoing efforts to vaccinate more people in lower-income countries”, WHO said in a statement.
“Even with new variants emerging, vaccines remain one of the most effective tools to protect people against serious illness and death from SARS-COV-2,” said Mariângela Simão, WHO assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products.
‘This listing aims to increase access particularly in lower-income countries, 41 of which have still not been able to vaccinate 10% of their populations, while 98 countries have not reached 40%,” she added.
Covovax is a subunit of the vaccine developed by Novavax and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). It requires two doses and is stable at 2 to 8 °C refrigerated temperatures.
The vaccine uses a novel platform and is produced by creating an engineered baculovirus containing a gene for a modified SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
The originator product produced by Novavax, named Nuvaxovid, is currently under assessment by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
WHO will complete its own assessment of this vaccine once the EMA has issued its recommendation.
- George Russell