WHO approves vax for emergency use

As India struggles with an unprecedented boom in cases, the WHO has taken extra measures to ease global supply shortages.

The World Health Organisation has added the Moderna (mRNA) jab to the growing list of approved emergency-use vaccines as the world struggles with a global supply issue.

The Moderna jab joins Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson on the organisation’s emergency use list.

The developing crisis in India, which has seen the subcontinent nation log 10 consecutive days of over 300,000 new cases, has created extra demand for vaccinations, forcing the international health experts to act.

A number of countries without their own advanced medical regulatory infrastructure rely solely on advice from the WHO to discern the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

“The objective is to make medicines, vaccines and diagnostics available as rapidly as possible to address the emergency,” the WHO said in a statement, claiming the Moderna jab has an efficacy of approximately 92 per cent in protecting against COVID-19.

The WHO reports the vaccine is most effective 14 days after the first jab.

The development came after WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (SAGE) recommended the Moderna vaccine for all adults in January. Moderna, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, announced it would be bolstering its production network to produce up to 3 billion doses in 2022.

Chief executive Stéphane Bancel said the pharmaceutical company was “actively participating in discussions with multilateral organisations, such as Covax, to help protect populations around the world”.

Unfortunately, developing countries may still have to wait a while for the Moderna vaccine despite the WHO’s emergency approval. The Guardian reported the company is tied up after striking supply agreements with “many rich countries, which will have already received millions of doses”.

The WHO is expected to make more decisions on emergency vaccines in the coming weeks, conducting reviews on COVID-19 vaccines from Sinopharm and Sinovac.

Australian Government in talks over Valneva vaccine import

The federal government is in talks with a French company about potentially buying its vaccine for Australia’s rollout.

Biotech firm Valneva is working on an inactivated vaccine for COVID-19, which uses a sample of the virus that has been killed to trigger an immune response without creating an infection, similar to the flu and polio shots.

The vaccine, which is in its advanced stages of development, may produce broader protection to fight new COVID-19 variants and could become a potential booster shot option in the future.

A spokesman for the Department of Health confirmed to news.com.au it was in contact with Valneva about the vaccine.

“The Australian Government continues to meet regularly with a range of COVID-19 vaccine and treatment developers and manufacturers, including Valneva,” the spokesman said.

“The nature of these discussions are commercial in confidence.

“We continue to monitor ongoing clinical trials, review real world effectiveness of the vaccine rollout and continue to have a range of discussions with manufacturers.”

While the federal government’s discussions with Valneva does not mean it will commit to buying its vaccine, it suggests the government is continuing to look at options beyond the three deals it currently has with AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Norovax.

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