WHO approves Moderna as 4th covid vaccine
London, May 1, 2021 (AltAfrica)-The World Health Organisation (WHO) has given the go-ahead for emergency use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The mRNA vaccine from the US manufacturer joins vaccines from AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson in receiving the WHO’s emergency use listing.
Similar approvals for China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines are expected in the coming days and weeks, the WHO said.
The green light for Moderna’s vaccine, announced late on Friday, took many months because of delays the WHO faced in obtaining data from the manufacturer.
Many countries without their own advanced medical regulatory and assessment offices rely on the WHO listing to decide whether to use vaccines. UN children’s agency Unicef also uses the listing to deploy vaccines in an emergency like the pandemic.
The announcement, however, was not likely to have an immediate impact on supplies of Moderna’s vaccine for the developing world.
The company struck supply agreements with many rich countries, which will have already received millions of doses.
In a statement, CEO Stephane Bancel said Moderna was “actively participating in discussions with multilateral organisations, such as Covax, to help protect populations around the world”.
He was referring to a UN-backed programme to ship COVID-19 vaccines to many low and middle-income countries, based on need.–
Moderna, one of three companies to have a COVID-19 vaccine authorized in the U.S., isn’t resting on its accomplishments but is instead working to scale up production further and improve on its vaccine.
One of the downsides of the vaccine initially was its cold-storage requirements. It is approved for storage at between 36 and 46 degrees F for up to 30 days and up to seven months at -4 F. Although that places some demands and limitations on healthcare providers, it’s a bit more manageable than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which requires storage at about -94 degree F, which requires specialized freezers.
However, Moderna has indicated it is working on new formulations that could extend the refrigerated shelf life. New data from the company also supports the vaccine could be refrigerated safely for three months.