India looks forward to WHO’s approval for Covaxin: Centre

India looks forward to WHO’s approval for Covaxin: Centre

Hummingbird News Desk

NEW DELHI, 4 JUNE: India is looking forward to World Health Organization (WHO)’s approval for Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, the Centre noted on Friday. It further said that ‘the milestone will be achieved soon’ and ‘the process of data sharing is going on.’

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Dr. VK Paul, Member (Health) Niti Aayog, during a press briefing regarding the coronavirus situation in India, said, “We have been working with Bharat Biotech and WHO, data sharing is on, we are keen that this milestone is achieved soon. We are pursuing it.”

Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech has applied to the WTO for the Emergency Use Listing (EUL) of its vaccine candidate Covaxin. However, the WHO has sought “more information” from Bharat Biotech on its EUL application.

Addressing the WHO’s “South-East Asia Regional Health Partners’ Forum on Covid-19”, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla stated that India was working with several other countries in the WTO on a targeted and temporary waiver under TRIPS to ensure timely and secure access to vaccines for all.

Pointing out that India was fighting an exceptionally severe second wave of the pandemic, he said the country was simultaneously dealing with unprecedented economic and social disruptions and distress.

“Challenges of this nature require a response at multiple levels. Nationally, it requires not just a whole-of-government approach but a whole-of-society approach. It also requires us to source solutions and capacities on a global basis,” he said.

Last month Bharat Biotech International Ltd (BBIL), which manufactures the homegrown covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, said it had submitted 90% of the documentation needed for WHO’s Emergency Use Listing. The rest of the documents are to be submitted this month.

A WHO recognition for Covaxin would also give Indian vaccine development a boost, with at least four more India-developed vaccine candidates in various stages of trial. The Indian foreign ministry has been coordinating with BBIL to secure WHO recognition for Covaxin.

Speaking on the topic of vaccination pace, the Centre said, India has to buy time to ensure that high coverage of vaccination against COVID-19 is achieved.

“We have to buy time to ensure high coverage of vaccination against COVID-19 is achieved,” it said. About 43 per cent of 60 years plus population has been vaccinated, while 37 per cent people above 45 years have been inoculated so far, the government said.

It also said, India has overtaken US in terms of the number of people who have received at least a single dose of the vaccine.

As per Our World in Data, the number of people who have received at least one dose of vaccine in India is 17.2 crore. We have overtaken the US in terms of the number of people in our country who have received the first dose of vaccine, the government said.

The Indian diplomat said India has, throughout the pandemic, identified and connected with potential suppliers of essential medicines, raw materials and medical equipment across the world. ”The effort to procure urgently needed medical supplies was reactivated during the second wave. We have been a vital part of a global effort to source Liquid Medical Oxygen, cryogenic ISO tankers, zeolites and essential medicines like Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and Amphotericin B.”

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