Corona dead vaccine: Covaxin from India shows effectiveness

Inactivated vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are to be used in the future in addition to the mRNA and vector vaccines that have already been approved in the fight against COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) has put the Indian inactivated vaccine Covaxin® on the list of recommended vaccines due to good study results. This is the vaccine and this is how it works.

The Indian vaccine received emergency approval from the WHO at the beginning of November – the inactivated vaccine is to be used in developing countries in particular.

Inactivated vaccine against Corona: This is how Covaxin® works

The vaccine is based on traditional technology: dead vaccines, also known as inactivated vaccines, consist of killed or inactivated pathogens or their components. The pathogens are therefore unable to multiply. The  immune system  recognizes the inoculated foreign bodies and produces antibodies against the invaders.

Well-known inactivated vaccines include the vaccines against diphtheria,  hepatitis Bpolio  and whooping cough.

The inactivated vaccine Covaxin® consists of cells of the virus variant of the D614G mutation that dominated in January. For this purpose, the viruses were multiplied in cell cultures and then inactivated using the chemical compound beta-propiolactone. In order to increase the effect of the vaccine, the viruses are provided with amplifiers (adjuvants):

  • Imidazoquinoline:  This is a toll-like receptor, which is usually found on or in pathogens and is responsible for activating genetic structures. The immune system responds to these receptors and adapts the immune system accordingly.
  • Alum:  The aluminum-based adjuvant works together with imidazoquinoline to stimulate the immune response to the inactivated vaccine.

The overall effectiveness of the vaccine is 65 to 86 percent according to the phase 3 study. The inactivated vaccine is said to protect up to 93 percent against serious illnesses.

The same applies here: anyone who has been vaccinated can still become infected, but there is a high probability that a serious illness can be prevented.

According to the manufacturer, two doses of vaccine spaced at least four weeks apart are required for the primary immunization, and there has not yet been any approval for children and adolescents. There is currently no data on vaccination in pregnant women.

Inactivated vaccine Covaxin®: Known side effects

The known vaccination reactions are similar to those of the previously recommended vaccines:

  • Pain and possible swelling at the injection site
  • headache
  • Fever
  • limb and muscle pain
  • dizziness
  • skin rashes
  • nausea

Dead vaccine from India: possible rescue in developing countries

Unlike the potent mRNA vaccines, Covaxin® can be stored at room temperature for up to a week. This has clear advantages, especially in countries with a poor infrastructure.


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