A medic vaccinates a beneficiary with Covaxin in Bhopal on Wednesday.
A medic vaccinates a beneficiary with Covaxin in Bhopal on Wednesday.

It news that is likely to increase the number of people ready to get themselves vaccinated against COVID-19, Covaxin has released data from it's Phase 3 trials. The vaccine that is being made by Bharat Biotech and ICMR has shown an interim vaccine efficacy of 81%.

While Covaxin has been used in India's vaccination drive for the last two months, third phase trials had still been underway. Trials for the third phase was jointly initiated by ICMR and BBIL in November last year and conducted on a total of 25,800 individuals across 21 sites. The vaccine has improved upon the projections put forth by the company itself, far exceeding previous guidance of around 60% efficacy.

The Phase 3 study enrolled participants between 18-98 years of age, including 2,433 over the age of 60 and 4,500 with comorbidities. The first interim analysis is based on 43 cases, of which 36 cases of COVID-19 were observed in the placebo group versus 7 cases observed in the COVAXIN group, resulting in a point estimate of vaccine efficacy of 80.6%.

At present there are only two vaccines that have been approved for inoculation in India. The second, Covishield has been developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca and is being manufactured in India by the Serum Institute. Trials conducted in UK, Brazil and South Africa have indicated an efficacy of of 76%. According to a press note from AstraZeneca, the vaccine efficacy increased to 82% with variation in the dosage gap.

Beyond this however, there are several other vaccines that will eventually join the ranks to help in the fight against COVID-19. ZyCoV-D, a plasmid DNA vaccine that is being developed by Zydus Cadilla is perhaps closest to the finish line. The three dose vaccine received the DGCI nod for Phase three trials at the beginning of February and plans to run this at more than 60 clinical trial sites with 30,000 participants. According to reports that quote COVID-19 Task Force leader Dr NK Arora, the vaccine should ideally be ready by the end of May.

Arora also expects the Russian-made Sputnik V to be ready in the near future. For the uninitiated, this had been the world's first COVID-19 vaccine to be registered. It has already been approved for use in several countries. In India, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories had partnered with the Russian Direct Investment Fund in September 2020 to conduct clinical trials. The vaccine is undergoing third phase trials at present.

Another vaccine contender is Biological E’s novel Covid-19 vaccine containing Receptor Binding Domain of SARS-CoV-2. It is presently undergoing Phase-I seamlessly followed by Phase-II study. This too is a two dose vaccine that has to be administered intramuscularly.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal