Not scientifically designed: Bharat Biotech rejects study that claimed Covaxin less effective than Covishield


NEW DELHI: Bharat Biotech, the Hyderabad-based COVID vaccine manufacturer, has categorically rejected a recent study that claimed that Covaxin is significantly less effective against the B.1.617.2 variant, the strain largely responsible for the ferocious second wave of the pandemic in the country.

The company also dismissed claims that its Covaxin is less effective than Serum Institute of India’s Covishield.

“A recent comparative report on an evaluation of immunogenicity responses to spike protein after the first and second dose of Indian manufactured vaccines study had lots of flaws. The journal that stated the comparative report said more antibodies produced by Covishield than COVAXIN®[?]. This is not a peer-reviewed publication, nor do it a statistically and scientifically designed study. The study design and conduct reflect an ad hoc analysis, rather than a predetermined hypothesis,” the company said.

The Hyderabad-based COVID vaccine manufacturer also said that it will publish the phase 3 trial data in July and after that, it will be applying for the full licensure of COVAXIN.

“It is critical to understand, and further emphasise the Phase-3 data will first be submitted to Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), followed by peer-reviewed journals, with a timeline of 3 months for publication, and as communicated earlier COVAXIN® phase 3 results full trial data will be made public during July. Once data from the final analysis of phase III studies are available, Bharat Biotech will apply for full licensure for COVAXIN®,” Bharat Biotech was quoted as saying by ANI on Wednesday.

Regarding the efficacy of the vaccine, the company said that, “Vaccine efficacy refers to the ability of a vaccine to bring about the intended beneficial effects on vaccinated individuals in a defined population under ideal conditions of use. When it comes to efficacy and safety, the efficacy data of Covaxin have been reported at overall efficacy is 78 per cent and efficacy against hospitalizations is 100 per cent.”

The company said, “Whole virus Inactivated vaccines have demonstrated one of the best safety records globally.”

There are already several approved inactivated vaccines against Polio, Japanese Encephalitis, Rabies, Hepatitis A, and several vaccines under development such as Chikungunya, Zika, Dengue and Polio.

In a recent preliminary pre- peer-reviewed study about vaccine efficacy report, Bharat Biotech has clarified that it has undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety and efficacy monitoring in Indian vaccines history.

The indigenous whole virion inactivated SARS-Cov-2 virus vaccine company has also said that Covaxin will even undergo phase 4 trials to check the real-world effectiveness of the vaccines.

“Bharat Biotech is also doing phase 4 trials to check on the real-world effectiveness of the vaccines, and to ensure its vaccine met every rigorous scientific standard for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization,” the company added.

(With ANI inputs)

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