Study: Indian coronavirus vaccine approved in January found to be 81 percent effective

Study: Indian coronavirus vaccine approved in January found to be 81 percent effective
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A coronavirus vaccine made in India that drew controversy over its speedy approval has been found to be 81 percent effective in fighting the virus. 

Covaxin, on which Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International and the Indian Council of Medical Research collaborated, proved to be 81 percent effective in a new analysis of an advanced clinical trial that was released Wednesday. Covaxin had come under scrutiny for getting emergency approval before finalizing its final stage testing. 

The effectiveness was achieved after just a single dose and clears the country’s 50 percent threshold for coronavirus vaccines to get approved. While Bharat Biotech touted the results as a success, it did not clarify if its vaccine would prevent a person from coming down with any coronavirus symptoms or if the person would simply not get a serious enough case to be hospitalized. 


“Today is an important milestone in vaccine discovery, for science and our fight against coronavirus. With today’s results from our Phase 3 clinical trials, we have now reported data on our COVID-19 vaccine from Phase 1, 2, and 3 trials involving around 27,000 participants. COVAXIN demonstrates high clinical efficacy trend against COVID-19 but also significant immunogenicity against the rapidly emerging variants,” Bharat Biotech Chair Krishna Ella said in a statement.

The results of the phase 3 study were based on tests from 25,800 participants between 18-98 years of age. That group included 2,433 people over the age of 60 and 4,500 with co-morbidities. Forty-three coronavirus cases were detected in the group, of which 36 were found in the placebo group. 

“I want to thank every one of the participants, who volunteered to participate in this vital clinical trial, our partners, principal investigators across 25 study sites, and our team at Bharat Biotech who dedicated their time to this vaccine discovery,” said Suchitra Ella, joint managing director of the firm. “We could not have achieved this public-private partnership milestone without the relentless commitment of those involved.”

The new shot could be a key tool for India, which is launching a massive inoculation program to combat a severe coronavirus outbreak. The country has the second-highest case count in the world with over 11 million confirmed infections, and over 157,000 people there have died.