WHO approves the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine

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World Health Organization (WHO) approved for emergency usage a Covid-19 vaccine from China's state-owned pharmaceutical company Sinopharm, Reuters reported. The vaccine is the first not developed by a western country that wins the backing from WHO. The approval paves the way for China to play a more significant role in the global fight against pandemic. So far the Sinopharm vaccine has been administered to millions of people, mainly in China. It is the first time the WHO has given emergency use approval to a Chinese vaccine for any infectious disease.

The WHO emergency listing is a signal to national regulators that a product is safe and effective. It also allows it to be included in COVAX, a global programme to provide vaccines mainly for poor countries, which has hit supply problems.

"This expands the list of Covid-19 vaccines that COVAX can buy, and gives countries confidence to expedite their own regulatory approval, and to import and administer a vaccine," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing. Senior WHO adviser Bruce Aylward said it would be up to Sinopharm to say how many doses of its vaccine it can provide to the programme, but added: "They are looking at trying to provide substantial support, make substantial doses available while at the same time of course trying to serve China's population." The WHO had already given emergency approval to Covid-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna.

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