On Sunday, the Centre had written to five states reporting a surge in cases to implement a multi-pronged strategy to curb the spread of Covid-19. While India’s cumulative positivity rate stood at 5.20 per cent on Sunday, the Health Ministry said that the country’s national average weekly positivity rate was 1.79 per cent.
Hyderabad-headquartered vaccine maker Bharat Biotech expects interim data on the efficacy of Covaxin to become available in the next two weeks, according to the company’s Chairman and Managing Director Dr Krishna Ella. This would be the first time that the company would be able to provide clarity on how many symptomatic cases of Covid-19 its indigenous vaccine can prevent.
Covaxin received restricted use approval in an emergency situation from the Drug Controller General of India on January 3. However, since Bharat Biotech had not finished recruiting and vaccinating enough participants for Phase 3 trials, the approval was without efficacy data. The government said the approval was “in public interest”, as it believed the vaccine, which consists of killed virus particles, would be more effective against mutant strains.
Bharat Biotech earlier published non-peer reviewed data on Covaxin’s ability to protect against the UK strain. According to Ella, the company can modify Covaxin within 15 days of receiving the South Africa strain, against which other vaccines like Covishield have not been as efficacious so far.