Covaxin, India’s homegrown COVID-19 vaccine candidate, has shown promising results in interim phase-III trials.
The vaccine, manufactured by Hyderabad, Telangana-headquartered firm Bharat Biotech, demonstrated an almost 81 percent interim clinical efficacy according to the company following the release of results from the interim phase-III trials on Wednesday. “Covaxin demonstrates high clinical efficacy trend against COVID-19 but also significant immunogenicity against the rapidly emerging variants,” said Bharat Biotech chairperson and managing director Krishna Ella.
India is utilising two vaccines in its immunisation campaign, Covaxin being one. The other is the vaccine manufactured by drugmaker AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. Incumbent prime minister Narendra Modi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh have both been inoculated using Covaxin. There has been a sliver of controversy surrounding the rapid approval of Covaxin in India despite the absence of late-stage data surrounding efficacy, resulting in concerns over the vaccine’s effectiveness. The new results show promise for the homegrown vaccine in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
Bharat Biotech conducted the interim analysis in conjunction with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), basing the analysis on 43 recorded cases of COVID-19 in a trial which included 25,800 participants. Participants received a vaccine or placebo at a 1 : 1 ratio. Of the 43 COVID-19 cases documented, 36 were detected among those to receive the placebo. Ella said the news represented “an important milestone in vaccine discovery, for science and our fight against coronavirus.”
Immunogenicity against emerging variants is crucial at a phase of the pandemic where, as inoculations are administered en masse including in India, concerns are raised surrounding the efficacy of existing vaccines against COVID-19 in terms of combating the new COVID-19 variants. As reported recently by Health Issues India, “research by scientists at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Telangana state capital Hyderabad, which operates under the aegis of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), identified 7,684 variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) – the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.” Researchers have identified more than 24,000 mutations in these variants.