Covid: Indian Bharat Biotech’s vaccine Covaxin approved by the WHO

Published by Laurent P. · Published on 5 November 2021 at 10h58
This Wednesday November 3, the WHO has announced they have emergency approved a brand-new Covid vaccine, Covaxin, developed by Indian biotech Bharat Biotech. According to the World Health Organization, the vaccine is 78% effective against the virus, requiring two injections four weeks apart.

A new Covid vaccine joins in! Covaxin has been developed by Indian biotech Bharat Biotech and this Wednesday November 3, it has been given emergency approval from the World Health Organization. A vaccine based on inactivated virus said to be 78% effective against Covid, transportable and can be store for a while at low temperature (between 2 and 8°C – or 35.6 to 46.4°F), and that only requires two jabs four weeks apart. This is the eighth vaccine to be approved after Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca (two versions), Sinovac, Sinopharm and Johnson & Johnson.

According to the WHO, the vaccine is “extremely suitable for low- and middle-income countries due to easy storage requirements”. As for its base, this is a vaccine with inactivated virus – a rather common technology in this type of product – including a new adjuvant, making it more effective in comparison with similar vaccines, the Indian biotech claimed. The approval also enables to “make the vaccine’s international acknowledgment easier”, Le Monde explains, making it more likely to fit in the Covax system set up to help vaccination in the poorest countries.

The validation by WHO is a very significant step towards ensuring global access to India’s widely administered, safe, and efficacious Covaxin”, Bharat Biotech CEO doctor Krishna Ella said. The approval is likely to facilitate “travel for many Indian citizens and contributes to vaccine equity” a tweet from the Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar reads. “This emergency use listing expands the availability of vaccines, the most effective medical tools we have to end the pandemic,” said Dr Mariângela Simão, WHO Assistant-Director General for Access to Medicines and Health Products.

The vaccine is already being produced on a large scale… And for good reason: Bharat Biotech explains they have a current production capacity of 50 to 55 million doses per month and intend to increase the pace to reach one billion doses produced at the end of 2021. The production is to reach more countries, technology handovers being “currently going on to companies in India, the United States and other countries”, the biotech claimed.

Practical information