WHO reviews nine vaccine candidates for Covax alliance
World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom said the organisation is reviewing the Covid-19 vaccine candidates of nine developers and is in talks with four of them to get them on board its COVAX global vaccines facility.
COVAX is an initiative of WHO and the Gavi vaccine alliance to develop and equitably distribute and an approved Covid-19 vaccine. “A 172 countries are engaged with COVAX, and it has one of the most diverse vaccine portfolios in the world,” said Adhanom on Monday.
The WHO director general said currently nine vaccine candidates are included in the portfolio, and discussions are ongoing for four more. “This is in interest of all manufacturers and countries, including those involved with bilateral deals with companies.
This does not only pool risks but also means prices will be kept as low as possible,” Adhanom said at a media briefing. COVAX brings together countries and vaccine manufacturers on one platform, where the wealthier nations pay upfront to secure certain doses of vaccines that are part of COVAX.
The investment is used to fund vaccine distribution in the poorer nations. The initiative hopes to bring as many vaccine manufacturers and countries together as possible so that the risk of development and access barriers are mitigated.
The initiative plans to secure 2 billion doses of an approved vaccine by end of 2021 and hopes to offer 20% vaccines in relation to a population of a country in the initial stages.
Currently, AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine candidate and US drug maker Novavax’s under-development candidate are part of the COVAX arrangement. Their manufacturing partners are Serum Institute of India and SK Biosciences.
India being considered a low-middle income country (LMIC) will be eligible to receive limited doses from the pool. According to WHO data, six vaccine candidates that are in phase 3 trials –three from China, two from the US, and one from Europe.
On the efficacy of vaccines, which has become a crucial factor for regulators to allow commercial production, WHO’s chief scientific officer Soumya Swaminathan said the organisation is looking at target product profile ideally of an efficacy of 50% with a lower bound of 30%.
Source : economictimes.indiatimes