The World Health Organisation (WHO) welcomes the fact that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is starting to examine the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19, WHO European Director Hans Kluge reacted on Thursday at a press conference.
“The Russian Federation does have a robust and proven past of vaccine development,” Kluge said. “They had a major role in the fight against polio, and yellow fever.”
According to the UN official, Europe is acting consistently when it comes to reviewing vaccines, regardless of country of origin. “We desperately need to enlarge our portfolio of vaccines so I see this as a very welcome development,” he said.
Earlier on Thursday morning, the European medicines agency announced that it was starting the review of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. The review process will continue until sufficient evidence is obtained to justify a formal application for a marketing authorisation.
Initially greeted with scepticism in the West, the first Russian vaccine against Covid-19 has since convinced experts, particularly after the publication of results in the specialist journal The Lancet, according to which the Russian vaccine is 91.6% effective against symptomatic forms of the disease.
Three vaccines are currently licensed in the European Union: those of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca. A fourth, from Johnson & Johnson, is subject to a request for authorisation. Two others, those of Novavax and CureVac, have started their continuous review process.