Indian pharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech says an interim analysis of stage-three trials of its COVID-19 vaccine have shown that it has 81-per-cent efficacy in preventing the disease.
The Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical's jab BBV152, or Covaxin, has been indigenously developed with the support of the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Covaxin is one of the two vaccines currently being used to inoculate Indians.
The other is AstraZeneca and Oxford University's vaccine, produced locally by the Serum Institute of India under the name Covishield.
Both recieved emergency authorisation from India's drugs controller in January.
Covaxin's authorisation came in for criticism, as unlike Covishield there was no interim data from stage-three clinical trials on humans at the time.
Covaxin's phase-three trial began in mid-November and was conducted on 25,800 individuals across 21 sites.
Bharat Biotech said the first interim analysis is based on 43 cases of COVID-19, of which 36 cases were observed in the placebo group versus seven cases observed in the Covaxin group, resulting in a point estimate of 80.6-per-cent efficacy.
"The bench-to-bedside journey of completely indigenous COVID-19 vaccine in less than eight months' time showcases the immense strength of a self-reliant India," ICMR director Balram Bhagat said.
"It is also a testament to India's emergence as a global vaccine superpower," Bhagat added.
The AstraZeneca shot is said to have an efficacy of 63 per cent.
Russia's Sputnik V, which has applied for emergency authorisation, has a reported an efficacy of 91.6 per cent, according to its Indian manufacturer Dr Reddy's Laboratory.
Australian Associated Press