Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued an emergency use listing (EUL) for CONVIDECIA, a vaccine manufactured by CanSino Biologics, China, adding to a growing portfolio of vaccines validated by WHO for the prevention of COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2.
WHO’s EUL procedure assesses the quality, safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines as a prerequisite for COVAX vaccine supply. It also allows countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and administer COVID-19 vaccines.
CONVIDECIA was assessed under the WHO EUL procedure based on the review of data on quality, safety, efficacy, a risk management plan, programmatic suitability and a manufacturing site inspection conducted by WHO. 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 use of the vaccine as a single (0.5ml) dose, in all age groups 18 and above.
CONVIDECIA was found to have 64% efficacy against symptomatic disease and 92% against severe COVID-19.
WHO emergency use listing
The emergency use listing (EUL) procedure assesses the suitability of novel health products during public health emergencies. The objective is to make medicines, vaccines and diagnostics available as rapidly as possible to address the emergency while adhering to stringent criteria of safety, efficacy and quality. The assessment weighs the threat posed by the emergency as well as the benefit that would accrue from the use of the product against any potential risks.
The EUL pathway involves a rigorous assessment of late phase II and phase III clinical trial data as well as substantial additional data on safety, efficacy, quality and a risk management plan. These data are reviewed by independent experts and WHO teams who consider the current body of evidence on the vaccine under consideration, the plans for monitoring its use, and plans for further studies.
As part of the EUL process, the company producing the vaccine must commit to continue to generate data to enable full licensure and WHO prequalification of the vaccine. The WHO prequalification process will assess additional clinical data generated from vaccine trials and deployment on a rolling basis to ensure the vaccine consistently meets the necessary standards of quality, safety and efficacy for broader availability.
SAGE is the principal advisory group to WHO for vaccines and immunization. It is charged with advising WHO on overall global policies and strategies, ranging from vaccines and immunization technology, research and development, to delivery of immunization and its linkages with other health interventions. SAGE is concerned not just with childhood vaccines and immunization, but all vaccine-preventable diseases.
SAGE assesses evidence on safety, efficacy, effectiveness, impact and programmatic suitability, considering both individual and public health impact. SAGE Interim recommendations for EUL products provide guidance for national vaccination policy makers. These recommendations are updated as additional evidence becomes available and as there are changes to the epidemiology of disease and the availability of additional vaccines and other disease control interventions.