India's Covaxin COVID-19 vaccine 81% effective against coronavirus

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A medic with COVID-19 vaccine during the Bharat Biotech's 'Covaxin' human trial after it was approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research, at Maharaja Agrasen Super Speciality Hospital in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, Friday, December 18. Photo by Vishal Bhatnagar/NurPhoto/Getty Images/FILE

(CNN) - India's Covaxin vaccine is 81% effective against coronavirus, according to early data released Wednesday by Bharat Biotech, the company that developed the drug jointly with the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The vaccine's clinical trial involved 25,800 participants between 18 and 98 years old. The efficacy figure is based on an early analysis of 43 COVID-19 cases. Thirty-six cases occurred in participants who got a placebo, compared to seven participants who got the vaccine.

Data indicates the vaccine can also effectively combat the coronavirus variant first spotted in the UK, according to an analysis by the National Institute of Virology, Bharat said in a news release.

“Today is an important milestone in vaccine discovery, for science and our fight against coronavirus…Covaxin demonstrates high clinical efficacy trend against COVID-19 but also significant immunogenicity against the rapidly emerging variants,” said Dr. Krishna Ella, the company's chairman and managing director.

Covaxin is a two-dose vaccine. It is the first COVID-19 vaccine that has been developed in its entirety in India. In March 2020, following the successful isolation of the novel coronavirus virus, the ICMR established a public-private partnership with Bharat Biotech to develop the virus isolate into a vaccine candidate.

Over 40 countries have expressed their interest in Covaxin, including Mongolia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Bahrain, Oman, Maldives and Mauritius.​​​​​​

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