HYDERABAD: The WHO said on Monday it was “aware that many people are waiting for WHO’s recommendation for Covaxin to be included in the Covid-19 emergency use listing (EUL)” but that it “cannot cut corners”. It added that “before recommending a product for emergency use, we must evaluate it thoroughly to make sure it is safe and effective”. The statements came a day after WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said the UN agency’s technical advisory group (TAG) would meet on October 26 to consider EUL for Covaxin. WHO said while Covaxin’s manufacturer, Bharat Biotech, has been submitting data on a rolling basis and its experts have reviewed this data, it is “expecting one additional piece of information from the company today”. However, neither WHO nor Bharat Biotech specified what information has been sought. WHO had stated on October 5, after its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts held a meeting on Covaxin’s EUL application, that the WHO and an independent group of experts were “scheduled to meet next week to carry out the risk/benefit assessment and come to a final decision whether to grant EUL to Covaxin” after the company had submitted additional information on September 27. On Monday, WHO said: “The timeframe for the WHO EUL procedure is dependent on how quickly a company producing the vaccine is able to provide the data required for WHO to evaluate the vaccine’s quality, safety, efficacy and its suitability for low- and middle-income countries.” “When the information provided addresses all questions raised, WHO and the technical advisory group will complete the assessment and come to a final recommendation,” WHO added.

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