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WHO validates Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Geneva, 01 June 2021 – One additional COVID-19 vaccine has been validated by WHO for emergency use, giving countries, procuring agencies and communities the assurance that it meets international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing. The vaccine is produced by the Beijing-based pharmaceutical company Sinovac.

“The world desperately needs multiple COVID-19 vaccines to address the huge access inequity across the globe. We urge manufacturers to participate in the COVAX Facility, share their knowhow and data and contribute to bringing the pandemic under control” said Dr Mariângela Simão, WHO Assistant-Director General for Access to Health Products. In the case of the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine, the WHO assessment included onsite inspections of the production facility.

The Sinovac-CoronaVac product is an inactivated vaccine. Its easy storage requirements make it very manageable and particularly suitable for low-resource settings. Initially, a sample of SARS-CoV-2 from China was used to grow large quantities of the virus using Vero cells in culture. From then on, the viruses are soaked in beta-propiolactone, which deactivates them, while leaving other particles intact. The resulting inactivated viruses are then mixed with an aluminium-based adjuvant. [1]

A real-world study of Chileans who received CoronaVac found it 65% effective against symptomatic COVID-19, 87% against hospitalization, 90% against ICU admissions, and 86% against deaths. [2] In Indonesia, real-world data showed 94% of inoculated health care workers protected against symptomatic infection by this vaccine. [3] In Brazil, after 75% of the population in Serrana, São Paulo received CoronaVac, preliminary results show deaths fell by 95%, hospitalizations by 86%, and symptomatic cases by 80%. [4] [5]

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[1Corum, Jonathan; Zimmer, Carl (26 April 2021). “How the Sinovac Vaccine Works”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.

[2Reporte COVID-19: Vacuna Coronavac Tiene Un 90,3% De Efectividad Para Prevenir El Ingreso a UCI“. Ministerio de Salud (in Spanish). 12 May 2021.

[3Jump up to:a b “China Sinovac Shot Seen Highly Effective in Real World Study“. MSN. 12 May 2021.

[4Savarese, Mauricio (1 June 2021). “Sinovac vaccine restores a Brazilian city to near normal“. CTV News.

[5Pearson, Samantha (31 May 2021). “Brazil’s Experiment to Vaccinate Town With Chinese CoronaVac Reduced Covid-19 Deaths by 95%”. The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660.