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Covaxin may get approval soon as WHO chief scientist says phase-3 trial data 'looks good'

Covaxin may get approval soon as WHO chief scientist says phase-3 trial data looks good

Hyderabad: Bharat Biotech's Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin is inching closer to receiving approval from the World Health Organization (WHO), as per media reports.

In an interview with CNBC-TV18, WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told that Covaxin's Phase-3 trial data "looks good'', and that the vaccine's safety profile is in line with WHO's requirements. She added that "The overall efficacy is quite high. The vaccine efficacy against the Delta variant is low but it is still quite good."

Covaxin is yet to receive approval from WHO. A pre-submission meeting was held between WHO and Bharat Biotech on June 23 to discuss the Emergency Use Listing (EUL) of the vaccine. Swaminathan added that the data pack for Covaxin is currently being put together and that WHO is waiting for more data to make a decision regarding listing Covaxin for EUL.

According to Hindustan Times, Phase-3 efficacy findings of Covaxin demonstrated that while the vaccine proves to be 93.4% effective against severe Covid-19 cases, only 65.2% efficacy is shown against the Delta variant. The B.1.617.2 strain, also called the Delta variant, dominates a considerable number of cases in the country according to data furnished by 'India's largest efficacy trial', which was conducted by Bharat Biotech. Swaminathan noted that while the vaccine's efficacy against the Delta variant is low, it is still not bad.

Swaminathan also addressed the Covid-19 situation in the country, saying that the country's primary focus should be to vaccinate at least 60-70% of the population, after which booster shots can be considered. Countries like the United Kingdom only began to focus on providing booster shots after a sizable chunk of the population had been vaccinated.

She also stressed the need to wear masks and maintain social distancing protocols.

She further added that the low rate of vaccination in the country leaves people vulnerable to contracting the virus.

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