The new year has begun with a significant event in India's long fight against COVID-19. On 3 January, Covishield and Covaxin became the first coronavirus vaccines in the country to get emergency approval by the DCGI.
Covishield, as we know, is Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate being manufactured by the Serum Institute in India. But it is the conditional approval of Covaxin — India's swadeshi vaccine candidate — that is raising some questions and controversies.
Well firstly, Covaxin is still in its Phase III trials which triggered concerns of safety. And unlike the other vaccines that have received emergency authorisation worldwide, we don't know its level of efficacy right now, which can only be determined after it has gone through large-scale phase III trials.
While experts are pointing out some of the gaps in this decision for emergency authorisation, an infuriated Dr Krishna Ella, the MD of Bharat Biotech, responded to the criticism saying that their method has been transparent and that this vaccine is in no way inferior to the international ones.
So what is it that we know about Covaxin so far? How does this vaccine work? What are the concerns being raised by experts? And how is the vaccination drive going to be implemented if it's yet to conclude its trials? Tune in to The Big Story!