WHO Approves South Korean, Indian Versions of AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 Vaccine For Emergency Use

The World Health Organization has given nod to one more Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine in the question is AstraZeneca/Oxford. The approval is only for emergency use. The WHO has approved two versions of the vaccine. The first version is produced by AstraZeneca-SKBio in the Republic of Korea. The second version is being produced in India by the Serum Institute. The WHO approval means that the two versions of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine can be administered globally. The WHO said that it approved the vaccines after assessing their safety and efficacy data. The world body also asked countries to expedite their process to grant regulatory approval to import vaccines and begin the inoculation drive.

The just-approved drug is a viral vectored vaccine. It is called ChAdOx1-S. According to the WHO, the vaccine’s efficacy is over 63 percent. It is suitable for countries falling in the low and middle-income groups. The two versions are easy to store and supply. The WHO approval also means that countries with no access to vaccines can finally start inoculating their populations at risk through the COVAX initiative. WHO noted that vaccines should be made available to priority populations everywhere in the world. It called for scaling up the manufacturing capacity. It said that vaccine developers should submit their vaccines for review at the earliest.

The AstraZeneca/Oxford coronavirus vaccine is the second drug on the list to be approved by the WHO for emergency use. The body had earlier approved the Covid-19 vaccine being manufactured by the Pfizer-BioNTech for emergency use. Meanwhile, the United Nations has prepared a plan to roll out vaccines for poor countries. Many poor and developing countries depend on the WHO’s study to determine drugs’ safety and efficacy. Under the COVAX program, the WHO and partner countries will provide around 336 million doses of vaccines by June end. The WHO aims to supply 2 billion doses by end of 2021. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus informed that as many as 130 countries have not even administered a single dose yet. Around 2.5 billion people are living in these countries. These countries are mostly poor.

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