Confirmed efficacy of the Indian Covaxin vaccine

Covaxin, the first vaccine developed in India against COVID-19, has clearly shown to catch the disease, a study released Thursday shows, while the World Health Organization (WHO) has already approved this promising vaccine for poor countries.

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This vaccine is “highly effective against symptoms of COVID-19 (…) in adults”, summarizes this study published in scalpel, adding that it is “well tolerated” with no noticeable serious side effects.

This vaccine was already urgently approved by the World Health Organization a few days ago and it was clearly based on this study – citing the same efficacy figures – but it has not yet been announced.

Produced by Bharat Biotech Group, Covaxin joins COVID vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm and Sinovac in the WHO list.

The study, of 25,000 people who received the vaccine or placebo, showed that there were about three-quarters fewer cases of COVID among those who were vaccinated.

This efficacy is lower than that initially observed for the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, but remains high.

This vaccine is especially interesting for poor and developing countries, as it requires fewer logistics than those with messenger RNA. It must be stored at very low temperatures, which requires large logistical capabilities.

Thus, the arrival of Covaxin could “improve the inadequate supply of vaccines that disproportionately affect low- and middle-income countries”, Chinese researchers Jing-Xin Li and Feng-Cai Zhu, who were not involved in the study, are welcome to comment.

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However, they note some limitations: the trials were conducted only in India, “which makes the studied group less ethnically diverse and limits the generalizability of these results to other populations.”

Above all, the study was conducted from November 2020 to January 2021, before the generalization of the delta variant, which is more contagious and therefore potentially more resistant to vaccination.

Despite the early date of the trials, the researchers were able to identify patients who actually had the delta variant at that time. In the vaccinated group, their proportion is two-thirds lower than in the placebo group, previously indicating that the vaccine is less effective against this alternative but remains protective.

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