India’s Bharat Biotech Says Vaccine is Effective Against Delta Variant


India’s Bharat Biotech said Saturday that late-stage clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine showed it was effective against the coronavirus and provided significant protection against the Delta variant.

The company said its vaccine demonstrated an overall efficacy of 77.8% in Phase 3 clinical trials, with 93.4% effectiveness against severe Covid-19, and provided 65.2% protection against the Delta variant, which fueled India’s devastating Covid-19 surge in the spring.

Bharat Biotech had been developing a Covid-19 vaccine since the first half of 2020. India approved it for emergency use earlier this year. It is one of the two main Covid-19 vaccines that India has been administering to its citizens, the other being the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca PLC and manufactured in India by the Serum Institute of India.

Some in India had questioned the safety and effectiveness of the Bharat Biotech vaccine because of its approval in India before the late-stage trial results. Some healthcare workers said at the time that the quick approval had made some people hesitant to take the vaccine, contributing to a slower rollout of the country’s vaccination drive.

As of Saturday, India had administered more than 344 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines—more total doses than any other country—but only 4.3% of its population has been fully vaccinated. By comparison, the U.S. has vaccinated about 47% of its population, the U.K. 48% and Canada 33%, according to data compiled by the University of Oxford’s Our World in Data project.