[Full Guide] Covishield VS Covaxin

With the third phase of Covid vaccination beginning from Monday in India, we breakdown the similarities and differences between the two vaccine candidates — Covishield and Covaxin available for inoculation in the country currently.

There are two Covid vaccines that are being used in India right now — Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute’s Covishield. Both have some similarities but have many differences

As senior citizens across the country begin to take the vaccination from today, here is all the information you need to know about the two vaccines available for inoculation:

PLATFORM

Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine that has been developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology, Pune (NIV). It is based on a tried and tested platform of dead viruses.

The vaccine is developed using Whole-Virion Inactivated Vero Cell-derived platform technology. Inactivated vaccines do not replicate and are therefore unlikely to revert and cause pathological effects. They contain dead virus — incapable of infecting people but still able to instruct the immune system to mount a defensive reaction against an infection.

Conventionally, inactivated vaccines have been around for decades. Numerous vaccines for diseases such as seasonal influenza, polio, pertussis, rabies and Japanese encephalitis use the same technology to develop inactivated vaccines.

Covishield 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. While the injected cold virus is harmless it serves as an instruction manual for the body on how to fight against similar viruses. This platform is used for infections like Ebola.

DOSAGE REGIMEN

Both Covishield and Covaxin follow a 2-dose vaccination regimen given 28 days apart.

STORAGE
Both vaccines do not require sub-zero storage, no reconstitution requirement, and ready to use liquid presentation in multi-dose vials, stable at 2-8 degrees Celsius.

EFFICACY
Pre-clinical studies of Covaxin demonstrated strong immunogenicity and protective efficacy in animal challenge studies conducted in hamsters & non-human primates. Efficacy data in humans is not available, since phase III trials have not wrapped up.

Efficacy data of Covishield, since the vaccine has the advantage of a global arm, shows a satisfactory percentage of 62 per cent.

APPROVALS
Covishield is approved for restricted use in emergency situations that may prevent Covid-19 disease in individuals 18 years of age and older.

Covaxin has received restricted use authorization in a clinical trial mode.

Both vaccines do not have a market use authorization clearance yet from the Drugs Controller General of India.

PRICING
The vaccines are being administered free of cost at government hospitals and health centres while Rs 250 will be charged for it at private health facilities.

HOW CAN IT BE ADMINISTERED

Both are intramuscular vaccines.

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