SWITZERLAND – The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued an EUL for CONVIDECIA, a vaccine manufactured by CanSino Biologics in China, adding to a growing portfolio of vaccines validated by WHO for the prevention of COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2.

As a prerequisite for COVAX vaccine supply, WHO’s EUL procedure evaluates the quality, safety, and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.

It also enables countries to expedite their own regulatory approval for the import and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.

CONVIDECIA was evaluated using the WHO EUL procedure, which included a review of data on quality, safety, efficacy, a risk management plan, programmatic suitability, and a WHO manufacturing site inspection.

The Technical Advisory Group for Emergency Use Listing, convened by WHO and made up of regulatory experts from around the world, has determined that the vaccine meets WHO standards for protection against COVID-19 and that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh risks.

CONVIDECIA is based on a modified human adenovirus that expresses the spike S protein of SARS-CoV-2. It is administered as a single dose.

CONVIDECIA was also reviewed earlier this month by WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE), which formulates vaccine specific policies and recommendations for vaccines’ use in populations (i.e. recommended age groups, intervals between shots, specific groups such as pregnant and lactating women).

The SAGE recommends giving the vaccine in a single (0.5ml) dose to people aged 18 and up.

CONVIDECIA was found to be 64% effective against symptomatic disease and 92% effective against severe COVID-19.

Other COVID-19 vaccines approved by the global health body are AstraZeneca/Oxford, Johnson and Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Sinopharm, Sinovac, Covaxin, Covishield, Covovax, and Nuvaxovid.

More than 2 years after it began, the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, with the number of cases continuing to rise.

But during this time, many scientific and medical breakthroughs have been made to help combat infections.

The WHO had authorized two oral COVID-19 treatments:  Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir/ritonavir) and molnupiravir (Lagevrio).

They are the first oral medications that can help prevent mild to moderate COVID-19 from worsening.

Last month, WHO issued a strong recommendation for Paxlovid, for mild and moderate COVID-19 patients at high risk of hospitalization, describing it as the best therapeutic option for high-risk patients to date.

Pfizer’s oral antiviral drug (a combination of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir tablets) is strongly advised for patients with non-severe COVID-19 who are at high risk of developing severe disease and hospitalization, such as those who are unvaccinated, elderly, or immunocompromised.

The two medications in Paxlovid, nirmatrelvir and ritonavir, work together to help treat COVID-19. They both belong to the same class of medications called protease inhibitors.

Nirmatrelvir stops the virus that causes COVID-19 from copying itself. The virus relies on an enzyme (protein) in human bodies called protease to copy itself.

Nirmatrelvir temporarily stops this enzyme from working so the virus can’t use it to multiply. Ritonavir on the other hand helps slow the breakdown of nirmatrelvir.

This helps nirmatrelvir stay in the body at higher levels for a longer period of time. In other words, ritonavir helps make nirmatrelvir more effective against COVID-19 than it would be on its own.

Molnupiravir is also an oral antiviral pill authorized to treat mild to moderate COVID-19. This medication, manufactured by Merck, received EUA shortly after Paxlovid.

Molnupiravir is authorized for adults ages 18 and older that are at high risk of developing severe COVID-19.

Molnupiravir is a nucleoside analog antiviral. It also stops the COVID-19 virus from copying itself, but it does this in a different way than Paxlovid.

Molnupiravir resembles the genetic building blocks that the COVID-19 virus uses to copy itself. So, when you take the medication, the virus mistakenly inserts molnupiravir into its genetic material, inhibiting the virus from copying itself.

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