WHO to decide Friday if Chinese vaccine Sinopharm will be granted emergency use authorization

WHO to decide Friday if Chinese vaccine Sinopharm will be granted emergency use authorization

A World Health Organization panel will decide Friday if a coronavirus vaccine made by Chinese firm Sinopharm should be granted emergency approval, spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters in Geneva.

If emergency approval authorization is granted by a technical advisory group, the vaccine, developed by Sinopharm with the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, could bolster WHO-backed efforts such as the Covax effort to equitably share doses around the world.

Though the Sinopharm vaccine is already in widespread use around the world with an estimated 65 million doses administered, its developers have released only limited information about the vaccine’s efficiency and side effects.

A separate WHO advisory group announced this week that it was “very confident” the Sinopharm vaccine protects people ages 18 to 59, citing evidence from clinical trials in China, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

However, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts said it had a “low level of confidence” of the vaccine’s efficacy in people over 60 years old and a “very low confidence” in the data about potential side effects in that age group.

The United Arab Emirates, where the Sinopharm vaccine has been widely used, has asked a “very small number” of people who received the vaccine to return for third doses.

The Seychelles, where the vaccine makes up around 60 percent of doses administered, has also seen a surge in cases recently, which some experts said raised questions about the vaccine’s effectiveness for reaching herd immunity.

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