U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday that the United States had approved a generic version of the hepatitis C vaccine that can be given to pregnant women and young children, and it has the potential to be used widely in other countries.
Guterres spoke on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly, a gathering of leaders from more than 180 nations, to announce the approval of the Sovaldi vaccine.
The drug has the same side effects as the drug approved for the hepatitis B vaccine, according to the U.K.-based drugmaker Astrazeneca, and is currently only available in a few European countries.
The U.G. is the first country to approve Sovaldi in the United Kingdom.
Gutierrez said the approval was a “milestone” for the United State, which has struggled to keep up with the global pandemic, and that he hoped the drug would become widely available in other parts of the world soon.
Gutiérrez said the drug will be given as a “pre-licensure” to people over the age of 55 and that the U and Guterre were working with the pharmaceutical companies to make sure they have adequate supply of the drug for the vaccine to keep prices down.
The drugs are being marketed by Astrazenecs private drug company, AstraZeneca, which is based in Covid-19-free Cambridge, Massachusetts.
AstroZeneca spokesman John Miller said the company does not disclose the cost of the generic drugs until the U of S approves them.
The cost of an AstraZenoGeneric is expected to be about $4,000, Miller said.
Sovaldi has been approved by the U