WHO in talks with Russian institute on Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine

FILE PHOTO: A logo is pictured on the headquarters of the World Health Orgnaization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, June 25, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) is in discussions with the Russian institute that developed the Sputnik V candidate vaccine against COVID-19 over its potential application for emergency use listing, the U.N. agency said on Thursday.

Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is 92% effective at protecting people from COVID-19 according to interim trial results, the country’s sovereign wealth fund said on Wednesday. [L1N2HX0LK]

The WHO, in a statement to Reuters, said: “WHO has been in touch with the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, who expressed interest in applying for WHO emergency use listing.

“We look forward to receiving the data for their Sputnik V candidate vaccine. If a product submitted for assessment is found to meet the criteria for listing, WHO will publish the results widely,” it said.

By granting the vaccine emergency use listing, the WHO would effectively be recommending its use to member states. The procedure streamlines the process by which new and unlicensed vaccines and other products can be used during emergencies.

The WHO, which is backing accelerated development of vaccines to stem the pandemic, has not yet prequalified any experimental vaccine nor issued an emergency use listing.

Russia's results are only the second from a late-stage human trial, following on swiftly from data released on Monday by Pfizer Inc PFE.N and BioNTech 22UAy.F which said their shot was also more than 90% effective.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Gareth Jones and Alexandra Hudson