Following WHO approval, Bharat Biotech must prioritise global supply
Following months of speculation, the World Health Organization (WHO) has granted Emergency Use Listing (EUL) to Covaxin, manufactured by Bharat Biotech. This now allows the vaccine’s better availability in many more countries, particularly via global groupings such as Covax. One of WHO’s key aims is to have at least 40% of people in all countries vaccinated by the year-end — a tall order as the latest estimates suggest that only around 1% of people in low-income countries have received their jabs. Seventy countries are yet to vaccinate 10% of their populations, and 30 countries — including much of Africa — have vaccinated fewer than 2%. In Latin America, only one in four of the population has received a vaccine dose, according to The British Medical Journal. Covaxin is an indigenous, inactivated whole-virion vaccine that has been developed based on well-established protocols. This has meant that it was put on the regulatory speed belt at nearly every stage, the most significant being its emergency approval by India’s drug regulators without any published phase-3 efficacy data. The ostensible reason for the haste was that India needed a low-cost indigenous vaccine that could be quickly administered to many.