WHO lists Moderna’s mRNA vaccine for emergency use

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on May 01, 2021

File photo   -  Bloomberg

Paves way for other countries to include the vaccine in their programmes

American biotech company Moderna’s mRNA Covid-19 vaccine has been added to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) basket of vaccines for emergency use.

The WHO said, Moderna’s vaccine (mRNA 1273) has been listed for emergency use, making it the fifth to receive such validation from WHO. Others that have made the cut include Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine, the AstraZeneca-OxfordUniversity vaccine from two different suppliers including the Serum Institute of India and the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

WHO’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL) assesses the quality, safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines and is a prerequisite for the COVAX facility vaccine supply. It also allows countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and administer Covid-19 vaccines, the agency explained.

The vaccine has already been reviewed by WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE), which makes recommendations for vaccines’ use in populations (ie recommended age groups, intervals between shots, advice for specific groups such as pregnant and lactating women). The SAGE recommended the vaccine for all age groups 18 and above.

The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) had issued an emergency use authorization for the Moderna vaccine on in December 2020 and a marketing authorisation valid throughout the European Union was granted by the European Medicines Agency in January 2021.

The Moderna vaccine is an mNRA-based vaccine. It was found by the SAGE to have an efficacy of efficacy of 94.1 percent, based on a median follow-up of two months. Although the vaccine is provided as a frozen suspension at –25 ºC to –15 ºC in a multidose vial, vials can be stored refrigerated at 2–8 °C for up to 30 days prior to withdrawal of the first dose, meaning that ultra-cold chain equipment may not always be necessary to deploy the vaccine, the WHO said, a significant feature in different climatic regions and in low and middle income countries that may not have the infrastructure to store and distribute.

Published on May 01, 2021

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