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Top US institute says Covaxin effective against Delta variant

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The US National Institute of Health (NIH) has said that Bharat’s Biotech’s vaccine against COVID-19 ‘Covaxin’ effectively neutralizes the Alpha and Delta variants of coronavirus. The NIH statement is based on two studies.

It said the results of two studies of blood serum from people who had received Covaxin suggests that the vaccine generates antibodies that effectively neutralise the Delta variant first detected in India and the Alpha variant first detected in the UK.

Notably, Covaxin has been so far administered to 25 million people in India and around the world. However, it is yet to get clearance for emergency use from the US Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Covaxin comprises a disabled form of SARS-CoV-2 that cannot replicate but still stimulates the immune system to make antibodies against the virus. Published results from a phase 2 trial of the vaccine indicate that it is safe and well-tolerated, the NIH said, adding that safety data from a phase 3 trial of Covaxin will become available later this year.

“Meanwhile, unpublished interim results from the phase 3 trial indicate that the vaccine has 78 per cent efficacy against symptomatic disease, 100 per cent efficacy against severe COVID-19, including hospitalisation, and 70 per cent efficacy against asymptomatic infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” it said.

COVID-19 variants

There are four variants of concern of the coronavirus disease—Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta—with Delta Plus being a sub-lineage of the Delta variant which is also a variant of concern.

Last week, ICMR director General Balram Bhargava said Covishield and Covaxin work against SARS-CoV-2 variants Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta, while effectiveness tests against the Delta Plus variant are ongoing. Besides, several other studies suggest Covaxin may be effective against multiple variants of the deadly virus.

 

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