Covishield vs Covaxin: Here's how both vaccines compare with each other
After a long battle against the novel coronavirus, India has two COVID-19 vaccines approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI). Both the vaccines work similarly by producing antibodies in the body and both are storage-friendly as well. Covishield which is a joint effort of Oxford University and AstraZeneca manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII) has cleared the 3 clinical trials. On the other side, India's indigenous vaccine, Covaxin manufactured by Bharat Biotech is still under the Phase 3 trial.
But the question arises, which one is better than the other? If given a choice, which one should you get?
Covaxin, developed by Hyderabad's Bharat Biotech is an indigenous vaccine of India. Scientists from the national institute of virology and ICMR have collaborated to develop this vaccine. On the other hand, Covishield is not a made in India product but will be manufactured here by the Serum Institute of India.
So, how both vaccines different? We will compare both the vaccine on the following four factors -
Let us talk about how the vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech works on one's body. Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine, meaning that the scientists identified the India strain of the virus and figured out that if we induce a dead virus in the body, it mimics like COVID-19, hence, our body develops antibodies without actually catching the virus. Fundamentally, it works like how someone contracts COVID-19 and then produces antibodies against the virus, this is a similar process, but without actually catching the virus.
Whereas AstraZeneca-Oxford has produced a viral vector vaccine, it uses a weak version of the ChAdOx1 virus (which causes the common cold in Chimpanzees). It is, later, altered to look like COVID virus and infused in the body. Since it resembles the novel coronavirus, the body's immune system begins to produce antibodies, making us immune to the virus.
Efficacy of the vaccine is determined only after the phase 3 trials. Covishield is effective up to 70 per cent. Although the effectiveness of Covaxin is yet to be determined, reports suggest that it is effective up to 60 per cent.
Serum Institute will be providing the vaccine to the Indian Government at Rs 200 per dose while offering the same at three times the prices in private markets at Rs 1,000 per dose. On the other side, Bharat Biotech is yet to reveal the cost of Covaxin but some media reports indicate that it could cost around Rs 100 per dose. Government of India has promised free vaccination for every citizen of the country. GOI has not yet signed a notable agreement with either of the vaccine generators. In the future, if Bharat Biotech's Covaxin can prove its effectiveness, subsequent vaccines would have to compete for both in value and efficacy.
Both the vaccines are two-dose vaccines, and both are storage-friendly as well. Both these vaccines can be refrigerated in a low temperature, viz 2 to 8-degree Celcius.
The Covaxin in under Phase 3 trials. As per a report published by VICE, many who are a part of the vaccine trials have said that they didn't know it was a trial. They did not receive any consent forms by the hospital.