The World Health Organization (WHO) approved this Friday the emergency use of the vaccine against covid-19 manufactured by the Chinese company Sinopharm.
It is the first vaccine developed by a non-Western country that is endorsed by the WHO.
The vaccine has already been administered to millions of people in China and elsewhere.
The WHO had only approved vaccines made by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna.
But health authorities in several countries, especially the poorest in Africa, Latin America and Asia, had already authorized the Chinese vaccine for emergency use during the pandemic.
There has long been considerable uncertainty about the effectiveness of various Chinese vaccines due to the limited data published in international medical publications.
But WHO said eyou are Friday that he had validated the “safety, efficacy and quality” of the vaccine de Sinopharm, noting that it had “the potential to rapidly accelerate access to the COVID-19 vaccine in countries seeking to protect health workers and populations at risk.”
It is recommended that the vaccine be administered in two doses to those over 18 years of age.
The WHO is also expected to make a decision soon on another Chinese vaccine developed by Sinovac.
The Russian Sputnik vaccine is under evaluation.
What is WHO’s support for?
Receiving the green light from the WHO serves to indicate to the health regulators of each country that it is a safe and effective vaccine.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this decision would give countries “confidence to accelerate their own regulatory approval process.”
It also means that the vaccine can be used in the global Covax program, which aims to provide around 2 billion vaccines to developing countries.
The decision to include the Chinese vaccine for emergency use is expected to give a substantial boost to this international program, which has been hit by supply problems and has only been able to deliver around 50 million doses so far.
Before gaining WHO approval, the Sinopharm vaccine was already being widely used in several countries, with an estimated 65 million doses administered as of this week.
Besides China, others countries that use is vaccine are the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and Hungary.
The vaccine’s developer, the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, has not released any detailed data on its efficacy, but has said the vaccine is 79.34% effective in preventing people from developing the disease, according to provisional data. quoted by Reuters agency.
The decision to approve the vaccine for emergency use was made by the WHO technical advisory group, which reviewed its latest clinical data and its manufacturing processes.
Other countries have also received doses of another Chinese vaccine manufactured by Sinovac, after authorizing its emergency use.
One of the main advantages of Chinese vaccines is that they can be stored in a standard refrigerator. at 2-8 degrees Celsius, like the AstraZeneca vaccine.
How do Chinese vaccines work?
The two Chinese vaccines differ significantly from some of the other COVID-19 vaccines currently being administered, especially those from Pfizer and Moderna.
Developed in a more traditional way, they are called inactivated vaccines, which means that use dead virus particles to expose the immune system to the virus without risk of a serious response to disease.
By comparison, the BioNtech-Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are messenger RNA vaccines. This means that part of the genetic code of the coronavirus is injected into the body, training the immune system to respond to it.
The UK AstraZeneca vaccine is another type of vaccine in which a version of a common cold virus from chimpanzees is modified to contain genetic material shared by the coronavirus. Once injected, it teaches the immune system how to fight the real virus.
BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna have an effectiveness rate of around 90% or more, while AstraZeneca is believed to be around 76%.
In April, China’s top disease control official said the efficacy of his country’s vaccines against the country’s covid-19 was low, though he later insisted his comments had been misinterpreted.
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