GENEVA — A top vaccines official at the World Health Organization says the agency expects to make a decision next month on an emergency authorization for the Indian-made COVID-19 vaccine made by Bharat Biotech, a shot that has yet to be authorized by any Western regulatory authorities.
Dr. Mariangela Simao, a WHO assistant director-general for vaccines, says the U.N. health agency’s assessment of the Bharat Biotech vaccine was “quite advanced” and officials hoped for a decision by mid-September.
Few studies have been published on the shot. Indian researchers have yet to share any advanced research about the vaccine, which has been authorized and used in India. Scientists in India say the vaccine is about 78% effective, but there are some questions about how the vaccine performs in the real world, including against COVID-19 variants.
Simao says WHO is also considering other versions of vaccines already licensed by the agency, including one made by Sinopharm. She expects they’ll begin evaluating vaccines made by Sanofi Pasteur and Novavax in September.
“There are many, many vaccines in the final stages of the pipeline,” Simao says.
Last week, the U.S. makers of Novavax said they would prioritize seeking authorization in developing countries and from WHO before getting the green light in the U.S. and European Union.