The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Indian pharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech has been found to be 78% effective in preventing symptoms of Covid-19 and 100% against severe disease in stage three trials, the company said.
In a press release on Wednesday, Bharat Biotech published second-round interim results from stage-three trials of the country’s first indigenous Covid-19 jab. The data, which was based on a trial of more than 25,000 participants, showed the formulation to have 78% efficacy in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 – and totally effective in preventing severe forms of the disease.
“The efficacy data against severe Covid-19 and asymptomatic infections is highly significant, as this helps reduce hospitalizations and disease transmission, respectively,” the company’s boss, Krishna Ella, said in a statement.
Balram Bhargava, secretary of health research & director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research, praised the hard work of the scientists involved and said he was pleased by the jab’s protection against new virus variants.
“I am also happy to note that Covaxin works well against most variants of SARS-CoV-2. These findings together consolidate the position of our indigenous vaccine in the global vaccine landscape,” he stated.
The vaccine has been administered several million times in India and has been given emergency approval in a number of other countries, including Iran, which granted a permit for its use in February, long before reflective trial results were available. Interim analysis from March 1 suggested the jab was 81% effective.
According to Bharat Biotech, more than 60 countries have expressed interest in purchasing the jab. Last week, India’s Ministry of Science & Technology said it was aiming at manufacturing 100 million doses every month by September, up from 10 million in April.
India is one of the world’s largest Covid-19 manufacturers, but has recently banned exports in an effort to prioritize the vaccination of its citizens amid a worrying increase in cases. The country’s latest mutant strain has also become an issue, with two major mutations potentially making it more resistant to vaccines and a ‘variant of concern’ across the world.