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Former AIIMS director Tirath Das Dogra along with a group of doctors, scientists, and medical professionals have slammed those who have questioned the efficacy of the Covid 19 vaccines. He said such reprehensible utterances are causing huge credibility crisis for the Indian scientific community.

In a statement released on Thursday, Dogra, "We condemn the irresponsible statements made by people with vested interests in print, electronic and social media defaming the Indian scientific community and casting aspersions upon its integrity by making politicised statements doubting the recent research in the field of Covid-19 vaccines."

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The statement also said that though the efficacy data is not available, the safety parameters of Covaxin are very good and there is a robust immune response seen with this vaccine.

This vaccine is a whole virus inactivated vaccine that may have better protection even against mutant strains of the virus as the immune response will be against multiple antigens and not only against Spike protein, it adds.

Opposition skeptic about the vaccine efficacy

Recently, several opposition leaders including Manish Tewari, Shashi Tharoor and Jairam Ramesh have expressed their apprehensions regarding Covaxin, the vaccine made by Bharat Biotech and recently approved by Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).

“A number of eminent etymologists and other medical practitioners have expressed surprise with regard to the fact that this vaccine has been cleared without phase III trials having been completed," Tewari said. “This obviously raises questions with regard to the efficacy of the vaccine."

“In other words, those Indians who would be administered Covaxin would, in effect, be volunteers for the required third stage clinical trial - without the mandatory ‘informed consent’. This is, to put it mildly, highly unusual. It is also ethically dubious," Tharoor said.

In a tweet, Ramesh said, “Bharat Biotech is a first-rate enterprise, but it is puzzling that internationally-accepted protocols relating to phase 3 trials are being modified for Covaxin."

Such reprehensible utterances causing credibility crisis: Dogra

Slamming the skeptics, Dogra said that such reprehensible utterances are causing huge credibility crisis for the Indian scientific community which has devoted its lifetime to make India a name to reckon with in the export of vaccines all over the world. There is a vision to make India a global leader in the field of scientific research.

"Due to our untiring efforts, India has emerged a global leader in supply of vaccines to the world. Vaccines are exported from India to over 188 countries. Currently, more than two-thirds of the total volume of the vaccines manufactured is exported while the rest is utilised domestically. The Indian vaccine market reached a value of 94 billion in 2019, and has still got unused potential for the future," the statement said.

It further said that the DGCI has granted the approval after a subject expert committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) recommended the two vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) for emergency use in India. Covishield was recommended for emergency use on January 1, whereas Covaxin was recommended for restricted use on January 2.

Though Covishield still needs data from India on immunogenicity and efficacy, it has been given emergency use authorisation keeping in mind the difficult times caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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