Coronavirus India Update: Indigenous Vaccine Found Effective; Active Cases Rise

Active Covid-19 cases in India rose again after a brief respite on Tuesday, at a time Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin — that’s already in use in the country’s inoculation drive — has shown to provide greater immunity in an advanced clinical trial.

Authorities reported nearly 15,000 new cases in 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry’s update as of 8 a.m. on March 3. That’s higher than the 13,000 recoveries in the same period, taking active cases above 1.7 lakh.

Covid-19 related deaths in a day dropped below 100 for the second time in a week. Total fatalities now account for 1.41% of the more than 1.11 crore coronavirus cases detected in the country.

Key Figures:

  • Total number of confirmed coronavirus cases: 1,11,39,516
  • Active cases: 1,70,126
  • Cured/discharged/migrated: 1,08,12,044
  • Deaths: 1,57,346
  • Fresh cases in the last 24 hours: 14,989
  • One-day recoveries: 13,123
  • One-day deaths: 98

India has administered 1,56,20,749 vaccine shots, with nearly 7.7 lakh of them given to the elderly in the last 24 hours.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off the second phase of immunisations on Monday — where senior citizens and those above the age of 45 with comorbidities will be able to get inoculated — by taking the first dose of Covaxin.

The indigenous vaccine, which was co-developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Ltd. and the Indian Council of Medical Research, showed an efficacy rate of 81% in those without prior infection after a second dose, the company said in a statement Wednesday. That’s better than Bharat Biotech’s guidance last year of around 60% and the country’s benchmark of 50% for vaccines targeting the novel coronavirus.

The interim analysis cements Bharat Biotech’s claims of the vaccine being safe and may help overcome vaccine hesitancy in the country. The data is also a rebuttal for critics who had questioned the unprecedented haste with which the shot was approved in early January and deployed among India’s frontline health care workers even before providing any Phase 3 trial data.

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