The World Health Organization (WHO) has granted prequalification for Sinovac Biotech’s live attenuated varicella vaccine. 

With the latest development, the vaccine became the first Chinese varicella shot to be prequalified by the WHO.

It is also the company’s fourth vaccine to receive approval from the health agency.

According to the data from a Phase III efficacy clinical trial, the seroconversion rate was found to be 97.1% in a group of children aged one to 12 years old who received the vaccine. 

The vaccine also demonstrated an efficacy of 87.1% and 89.2% against varicella and breakthrough varicella, respectively. 

The vaccine was also found to provide complete protection against moderate and severe infections.

Obtained from the Oka strain, the varicella vaccine is propagated in the Human Diploid Cell (SV-1 strain) of the company. 

This cell is created by culturing and collecting the virus, adding stabilisers and freeze-drying it.

Sinovac Biotech chairman, president and CEO Weidong Yin said: “Now that Sinovac has received WHO prequalification for our varicella vaccine, we can provide a new weapon for prevention and control of infectious diseases globally. 

“In the future, we will continue to work on more clinical trials, registrations and approvals for vaccines worldwide, to offer the world high-quality vaccines and ensure the accessibility and affordability of these public goods.”

The other three vaccines of the company to receive the WHO prequalification include Healive, a hepatitis A vaccine; CoronaVac, a Covid-19 vaccine; and the Sabin-strain inactivated polio vaccine.

In August this year, the Health Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China granted approval for CoronaVac for children aged six months to three years.