All Questions Answered: Serum Institute of India’s Covishield v/s Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin

With Covid vaccine applications by Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech approved in India, here’s a look at how they compare against each other.

Number of Doses: Both the vaccines have to be taken in two doses. Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin will be administered in ‘clinical trial mode, ‘ which means consent must be taken from the vaccine recipient. The recipient will be monitored.

Dose interval: SII’s Covishield vaccine doses will be given 4-6 weeks apart; Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin should be taken three weeks apart.

Age group: SII’s vaccine is approved for people aged 18 years and above, while Bharat Biotech’s vaccine has been approved for those 12 years and above. There is no clarity on whether pregnant women can be given the vaccines.

Delivery route: Both are intramuscular injections.

 Storage temperature: Both the vaccines can be stored at 2–8 degrees Centigrade (household refrigerator temperature). 

 Vaccine type: The SII vaccine is based on the viral vector platform. A chimpanzee adenovirus called ChAdOx1 is the vector that has been modified to carry the coronavirus spike protein into human cells. The adenovirus vector platform for vaccines gained traction during the battle to stop Ebola.

Bharat Biotech’s vaccine is based on an inactivated whole SARS-CoV-2 virion, an old platform used to make polio vaccines. A virus’s disease-producing capacity is inactivated under this method.

 Safety: Both the vaccines are safe, as per animal and human studies reviewed by a Subject Expert Committee and DCGI, which come under regulator CDSCO. Inactivated vaccines tend to have lower adverse reactions such as pain, mild fever, or swelling where the shot was given.

 Immunogenicity: Both vaccines have been shown to produce good immunogenicity, including antibody and T-cell responses.

Efficacy: SII’s vaccine at two full doses has been shown to have 62 percent efficacy in phase-3 clinical trials. Two full doses will be administered in India.

Bharat Biotech is yet to publish efficacy data from its phase-3 trials.

 Local clinical trials: SII is conducting a Phase 2/3 bridge trial in India on 1,600 people. Global trials of the vaccine have been conducted by AstraZeneca, which developed the vaccine with Oxford University.

Bharat Biotech has conducted its entire trial in India: Phase 1/2 on 800-1,000 participants; and Phase-3 (ongoing) on 26,000 participants.

Price: SII is offering the vaccine to the Indian government at Rs 200 per dose. The company plans to sell the vaccine in the private market at Rs 1,000 per dose.

Bharat Biotech is yet to announce its pricing.

Approvals: The SII-manufactured Covishield, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, has been approved for emergency use in the UK, Argentina, Mexico, and India.

Bharat Biotech’s vaccine has been approved in India.

 Manufacturing: Both are Made in India vaccines. SII has an exclusive license from AstraZeneca-Oxford University to manufacture and distribute the vaccine in India and other emerging markets.

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