India’s Covaxin jab less effective than thought: study
Representational Image (Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP via Getty Images)
COVAXIN, Bharat Biotech’s coronavirus vaccine and one of the main jabs used in India’s immunization drive, was only 50 per cent effective against symptomatic Covid-19, a real-world study has said.
Researchers at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi analysed data from 2,714 of the hospital’s health workers who were displaying signs of infection and underwent RT-PCR testing between April 15 and May 15, according to a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.
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The staff members of AIIMS had exclusively been offered Covaxin at the beginning of the country’s vaccination campaign in January.
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The authors of the report found that the vaccine’s adjusted effectiveness against symptomatic Covid was lower than the 77.8 per cent that the interim results established during the final stage tests, two weeks or more after completing the two-dose regime.
According to the researchers, high infection rates and exposure to the virus among the hospitals’ employees may have contributed to the Covaxin’s weaker real-world efficacy, along with the possibility that the then recently emerged delta variant reduced the vaccine’s protection.
“Our study offers a more complete picture of how BBV152 performs in the field and should be considered in the context of Covid-19 surge conditions in India, combined with the possible immune evasive potential of the delta variant,” Manish Soneja, an additional professor of medicine at AIIMS, said in a statement referring to the vaccine’s scientific name.
While various studies indicate that almost all Covid vaccines show lesser effectiveness against the highly infectious delta variant, the new findings on Covaxin may hurt the vaccine’s appeal at a time when Bharat Biotech is increasing manufacturing and as India resumes its vaccine exports after a pause.