WHO expects more information from India’s Bharat Biotech for its COVID-19 vaccine – Reuters

BENGALURU, Oct 18 (Reuters) – The World Health Organization said on Monday it expects Bharat Biotech to provide more information on its COVID-19 vaccine in a further setback to the Indian company’s hopes of getting an emergency-use listing for the shot.

Without WHO’s nod the two-dose Covaxin is unlikely to be accepted as a valid COVID-19 vaccine around the world. Bharat Biotech has been pursuing a WHO emergency-use listing for several months, having submitted data on a rolling basis since July.

“We are aware that many people are waiting for WHO’s recommendation for (Bharat Biotech’s) Covaxin to be included in the #COVID19 Emergency Use Listing, but we cannot cut corners,” WHO said on Twitter.

Bharat Biotech did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Covaxin is one of the three approved vaccines that have been used in India for the country’s vaccination drive for adults. Around 30% of about 944 million eligible adults have been fully vaccinated so far, which includes the administration of more than 112 million doses of Covaxin.

“Bharat Biotech … has been submitting data to WHO on a rolling basis and WHO experts have reviewed these data. WHO is expecting one additional piece of information from the company today,” the global health agency said on Twitter.

WHO’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Sunday the agency’s technical advisory group will meet on Oct. 26 to consider the listing for Covaxin.

Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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