India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives a dose of COVAXIN, a coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine developed by India's Bharat Biotech and the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research, at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital in New Delhi, India, March 1, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

‘Indian homegrown Covid vaccine only 50% effective’

Experts say despite horrible performance of health system, New Delhi hailed indigenous vaccine as a major success


APP November 25, 2021
ISLAMABAD:

India’s homegrown Covid-19 vaccine is only 50 per cent effective against symptomatic infections during the peak of the country’s deadly second wave, according to new research.

The new data analysed over 1,000 Covid-19 cases with a test-negative control case group, matching by age and gender, according to the study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.

The experts say that India despite the horrible performance of its health system, which totally collapsed during the second wave of Covid-19, celebrated its indigenous vaccine as a major success.

Recently, India also celebrated achieving its one billion vaccination target as a unique milestone, but the recent study has “badly exposed the reality of such claims”.

The Modi government has been promoting the indigenous vaccine among healthcare workers, and so far, 138 million doses have been administered in the country.

However, the vaccine’s rollout was marked by controversy as it was approved in the country before its third trial data was released.

The vaccine, developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, was recently approved by the WHO technical committee and was included in the list of acceptable vaccines, but only after a wait of four months.

This is the first real-world assessment of Covaxin, which is one of the two main vaccines being used in India’s inoculation drive.

Also read: Many 'challenges' ahead in India’s coronavirus vaccination program

The real-world study for Covaxin, conducted April 15-May 15, compares with a 77.8% effectiveness rate in a late-stage trial of more than 25,000 participants that was conducted from November 2020 to January 2021.

The study included 2,714 health workers from Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences, who were showing signs of infection and underwent RT-PCR testing between 15 April and 15 May, the peak of India’s second wave of coronavirus crisis. The study was published in The Lancet medical journal on Nov 24, 2021.

All the medical workers were inoculated with two doses of Covaxin at least 14 days before and had a high risk of exposure to the virus.

The study said that half the participants were found to have symptomatic Covid-19 as confirmed by RT-PCR tests.

Researchers found that the adjusted effectiveness of Covaxin against symptomatic Covid-19 was at 50 per cent overall, lower than the 77.8 per cent that interim tests results. After excluding participants with previous Covid-19 infections, the adjusted effectiveness dropped to 47 per cent.

The analysts are of the view that the report clearly indicates that Indian attempt to boost a false sense of superiority pushed its frontline medical and common citizen towards a medical disaster as witnessed during the catastrophic failure of the Indian medical system.

It has also been reported by Indian media that many of the Indian celebrities, political leaders, and wealthy businessmen and their families got vaccinated from UK and US, as they never trusted the claims of effectiveness of the Indian vaccine.

Ironically, India once again resorted to false claims to project itself as a leader in the pharmaceutical industry endangering its own population.

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