India Covid-19 vaccine is 81% effective

Indian pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech released preliminary data on its late-stage test showing its Covaxin vaccine is 81% effective.

The statement was made by Bharat Biotech President Krishna Ella on March 3. India licensed the emergency vaccine in January, before the product was tested for phase three.

“Covaxin is not only clinically highly effective against Covid-19, but also has a remarkable ability to produce immunity against new variants,” said Krishna Ella. The company plans to produce 700 million doses per year.

The clinical trial preliminary data comes after analyzing 43 cases of the 25,800 participants in the Covaxin trial. Of the 43 cases of Covid-19, 36 cases were in the placebo group, 7 were in the Covaxine group, equivalent to an effect of 80.6%.

According to Bharat Biotech, 40 countries are interested in its products. In particular, Zimbabwe is the first country to approve India’s vaccine on March 4, according to the Indian Embassy in Zimbabwe.

“Now that I have data for the third trial, I can safely get my father, who is over 60 years old with diabetes, vaccinated,” said Nirmalya Mohapatra, head of the association at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in New Delhi, said. Dr. Mohapatra has openly rejected Covaxin.

Rajib Dasgupta, president of the Center for Social Medicine and Public Health at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, said the interim results are encouraging but more analysis is needed to get the full picture. Opposition politician Shashi Tharoor welcomed the Bharat Biotech statement: “For people like me who have concerns about Covaxin, this is really good news.”

Besides Covaxin, India has licensed the Covishield vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and produced by the Indian Serum Institute. The vaccine is 70.42% effective according to data from a foreign trial.

On March 5, India recorded an additional 16,819 cases and 113 deaths, bringing the total number of people infected and dead from COV to 11,173,567 and 157,584, respectively.

A woman vaccinated against Covishield. Image: Reuters.

Mai Dung (Follow Reuters)


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