Hyderabad-based vaccine maker Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covaxin’ has been found to be 77.8 per cent effective in protecting against the viral infection, according to the phase 3 clinical trial results that have been submitted to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).
The phase 3 trial involved 25,800 participants from across the country. The subject expert committee of the DCGI that convened a meeting on Tuesday to deliberate on the phase 3 trial results has approved it. The trial data and results are yet to be published in any internationally recognized and peer-reviewed journal.
The first interim analysis of Phase 3 results, presented in March, indicated Covaxin was 81 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 in those without prior infection after the second dose. Data available and analysed at that stage also showed a 100 per cent reduction in chances of hospitalisation in case of infection.
Comparison with Covishield
While experts are of the view that people should not wait for the availability of better vaccines against COVID-19 and get the jab that is available to them, a quick comparison of efficacy rates reveal that Covaxin has slightly better efficacy as against Covishield—a jab developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and is locally manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute.
The Indian Council of Medical Research says that Covishield has overall efficacy of 70.42 per cent, whereas Covaxin has been found to be 77.8 per cent effective in the phase 3 trials. However, Covaxin is yet to be approved by the World Health Organisation or the drug regulators of developed countries. On the other hand, Covishield has been approved by the WHO and regulators of several developed countries.
Covaxin cleared by India last year
The Indian drug regulator had cleared Covaxin last year even before the third phase trials could be conducted—a move that drew sharp criticism from the Opposition. Millions of people have been administered Covaxin in India under the national immunisation drive.
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