India's Bharat Biotech says COVID-19 vaccine shows 81% interim efficacy

DIBYANGSHU SARKAR / AFP

Bharat Biotech's homegrown COVID-19 vaccine has shown an interim vaccine efficacy of 81% in late-stage clinical trials, the Indian company said on Wednesday.

The interim analysis was based on 43 recorded cases of COVID-19 in the trial of 25,800 participants, conducted in partnership with the Indian government's medical research body.

Thirty-six of the 43 cases were recorded in participants who received a placebo, compared with seven cases in people who were given the Bharat Biotech vaccine, pointing to an efficacy rate of 80.6%, the company said.

India had approved the vaccine, branded COVAXIN, in January without late-stage efficacy data, raising questions about its effectiveness.

India's vaccination drive, currently underway, includes COVAXIN and a vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

Earlier this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was inoculated with the first dose of COVAXIN.

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