A post is being shared on social media with a claim that India is one of the only five countries in the world which made COVID-19 vaccine. Also, it is being claimed that Bharat Biotech’s ‘COVAXIN’ is the most effective vaccine among all these vaccines. Let’s fact-check the claim made in the post.
Claim: Only five countries in the world have made COVID-19 vaccine. India’s vaccine is the most effective one.
Fact: While it is true that Indian is one of the countries which made the COVID-19 vaccine, many countries (more than five) are part of the development and manufacturing of the various COVID-19 vaccines. As of today, there is no scientific evidence to claim that ‘COVAXIN’, the vaccine developed by India-based Bharat Biotech, is the most effective one. Bharat Biotech chairman Dr Krishna Ella has said that the company expects to release the efficacy data of COVAXIN’s ongoing Phase 3 trials by March 2021. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE.
As COVID-19 cases have been reported all around the world, many countries have initiated efforts to develop and manufacture the vaccine for COVID-19. In the ‘Draft landscape of COVID-19 candidate vaccines’ published by the WHO, it can be read that 63 vaccines are in the clinical development stage and 172 vaccines are in the pre-clinical development stage (as on 05 January 2021).
Below are some of the developers of the vaccines which are in ‘Stage 3’ or’ ‘Stage 2/3’ phase of the clinical development (Bharat Biotech’s ‘COVAXIN’ is also in ‘Stage 3’). It can be observed from the WHO list that not just five countries, but MNCs and government establishments in multiple countries [India (Bharat Biotech), US (Moderna), UK (AstraZeneca), Russia (Gamaleya), Japan (AnGes), China (Sinovac), Canada (Medicago), Germany (BioNTech), Kazakhstan (Research Institute for Biological Safety Problems) and many others are involved in the development of the vaccines.
Also, the manufacturing of a vaccine is not just limited to the country where it is developed. For example, the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India in India and CSL in Australia. On the website of AstraZeneca, it can be read – ‘To accelerate vaccine production and supply involves collaboration with more than 20 supply partners in more than 15 countries, supported by more than 20 analytical testing sites’. ‘Reuters’ reported that Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine is being manufactured in Germany, Belgium and the United States.
Also, as of today, there is no scientific evidence to claim that ‘COVAXIN’, the vaccine developed by India-based Bharat Biotech, is the most effective COVID-19 vaccine in the world. It was reported by multiple news agencies that Bharat Biotech chairman Dr Krishna Ella has said that the company expects to release the efficacy data of COVAXIN’s ongoing Phase 3 trials by March 2021.
Many countries are looking up to COVID-19 vaccines being manufactured in India. It was reported that Brazil’s private clinics have signed a deal with Bharat Biotech. Also, Nepal and Sri Lanka are reportedly looking for vaccines from India. No specific reports regarding “32 small-large countries’ pre-order” were found but, on the GAVI website, it can be read – ‘Collaboration among the Serum Institute of India (SII), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will accelerate manufacturing and delivery of up to an additional 100 million doses of future vaccines, if proven to be safe and effective, for low- and middle-income countries in 2021’.
To sum it up, not just five but many other countries are developing and manufacturing various COVID-19 vaccines. As of today, there is no scientific evidence to claim that ‘COVAXIN’ is the most effective one.