Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin found 81% effective in interim phase 3 trials

Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin found 81% effective in interim phase 3 trials

Hummingbird News Desk

NEW DELHI, 3 MARCH: Phase 3 results of the COVAXIN, developed by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in partnership with Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL), have shown an interim vaccine efficacy of 81% in preventing Covid-19.

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The Phase 3 trial jointly initiated by ICMR and BBIL in mid-November 2020 was conducted in a total of 25,800 individuals across 21 sites. The interim efficacy trend of 81%, analyzed as per the protocol approved by the DCGI, put sit at par with other global front-runner vaccines.

“The bench-to-bedside journey of completely indigenous COVID-19 vaccine in less than 8 months’ time showcases the immense strength of Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) to fight the odds and stand tall in the global public health community. It is also a testament to India’s emergence as a global vaccine superpower,” said Dr. Balram Bhargava, Director General, ICMR.

The COVAXIN is the first COVID-19 vaccine that has been developed completely in India. In March 2020, following the successful isolation of the SARS CoV-2 virus at ICMR-National Institute of Virology (NIV), ICMR entered into a public-private partnership with BBIL to develop the virus isolate into an effective vaccine candidate.

ICMR-NIV characterized the vaccine developed by BBIL through in-vitro experiments and electron microscopy studies.

Pre-clinical studies in small animals and hamsters showed promising results in terms of safety and immunogenicity. Further studies conducted in rhesus macaques also established remarkable safety and protective efficacy of COVAXIN. Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials conducted in 755 participants demonstrated high safety profile of the candidate vaccine with seroconversion rates of 98.3% and 81.1%on day 56 and 104respectively.

COVAXIN has been developed on the WHO prequalified verocell platform, which is globally recognized with a well-established track record of safety. COVAXIN’s ability to neutralize UK variant strain of SARS-CoV-2 has also recently been established.

“The development and deployment of COVAXIN ensures that India has a powerful weapon in its arsenal in a continually evolving pandemic situation and will go a long way in helping us win the war against COVID-19. The need of the hour is to ensure that people in India continue to receive the vaccine and break the chain of virus transmission,” said Dr. Samiran Panda, Head, Epidemiology and Communicable Disease, ICMR and Director, National AIDS Research Institute.

Bharat Biotech’s efficacy data comes at a time when India has been witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases, especially in states like Maharashtra, Kerala. The Union Health Ministry informed that Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Karnataka continue to report a surge in fresh COVID-19 cases and they account for 85.95 per cent of the cases reported in a span of 24 hours.

The ministry said that 14,989 new cases were registered in a span of 24 hours.

Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 7,863. It is followed by Kerala with 2,938, while Punjab reported 729 new cases.

India’s total active caseload has reached 1,70,126 today. India’s present active caseload now stands at 1.53 per cent of the total positive cases.

Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech has been supplying its vaccine doses to other countries apart from India. Recently, the vaccine maker confirmed that the company has signed an agreement with Brazil for the supply of 20 million doses of Covaxin vaccine.

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