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COVID-19 Vaccine | Decision on Covaxin approval in 4-6 weeks, says WHO Chief Scientist

Phase III data has found Covaxin to be 65 percent effective against the B.1.617.2 COVID-19 strain or Delta variant of the coronavirus disease.

July 10, 2021 / 09:28 AM IST
As per data available on covid19.trackvaccines.org, less than 10 nations have officially approved the Covaxin.

As per data available on covid19.trackvaccines.org, less than 10 nations have officially approved the Covaxin.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan on July 9 said the body may decide on the emergency use listing (EUL) status of Covaxin in the next 4 to 6 weeks, Mint reported.

Covaxin is the indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine by Bharat Biotech. The company has submitted “almost complete” papers to WHO for EUL.

The approval is significant as it will likely lead to more international acceptance of the vaccine. It will also boost prospects of international travel for the many Indians who have taken Covaxin but are currently excluded from the list of globally accepted vaccines.

“It is mandatory to supply a complete dossier listing safety, efficacy and manufacturing conditions of the vaccine to WHO. I understand that Bharat Biotech is in this process and I think a decision on their case is likely in the next four to six weeks," Swaminathan said.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The stamp will also allow Covaxin to join the WHO’s COVAX vaccine alliance which is ensuring supply for other countries. So far, only six vaccines have EUL from the apex global health body – AstraZeneca-Oxford, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinopharm and Sinovac.

Last week, Bharat Biotech released its Phase 3 trial results and claimed vaccine efficacy of 78.8 percent against COVID-19. It tweeted: “COVAXIN Proven SAFE in India's Largest Efficacy Trial,” the company tweeted on July 3."

Phase III data has found Covaxin to be 78 percent effective against mild, moderate, and severe COVID-19; 93 percent effective against severe COVID-19 – reducing hospitalisations, and 63 percent effective against asymptomatic COVID-19 transmission.

It was also found to be 65 percent effective against the B.1.617.2 COVID-19 strain or Delta variant of the coronavirus disease and the company said Covaxin has been “well-tolerated” among participants and showed “minimal adverse effects post-immunisation”

As per data available on covid19.trackvaccines.org, less than 10 nations have officially approved the Covaxin. Most countries only recognise Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), as the required vaccine for passengers coming from India.

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first published: Jul 10, 2021 09:28 am

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