Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is effective against the new variant of Covid-19 that was traced in the United Kingdom, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said. A study in this regard has been published in a preprint server for biology. Covaxin Covid-19 vaccine, which is being administered in India, has been developed in collaborations between ICMR and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.
“Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech with ICMR, has equivalent immunogenicity against the UK-variant and circulating strains of SARS-COV-2 in India. Indian Council of Medical Research – National Institute of Virology, Pune, is the first in the world to culture the UK variant,” ICMR said in a tweet. The details have been published in bioRxiv, the preprint server for biology, titled “Neutralization of UK-variant VUI-202012/01 with COVAXIN vaccinated human serum”.
“We performed the plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT50) using sera collected from the 26 recipients of BBV152/COVAXINTM against hCoV-19/India/20203522 (UK-variant) and hCoV27 19/India/2020Q111 (heterologous strain),” the study shows.
According to the study, a comparable neutralization activity of sera of the vaccinated individuals showed against UK-variant and the heterologous strain with similar efficiency, dispel the uncertainty of possible neutralization escape.
British scientists have said the UK variant of the coronavirus that is behind a surge in COVID-19 infections there may be not only more transmissible but also more lethal – with a mortality risk of around 30 per cent higher than other variants, as per a Reuters report.
Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech had issued a fact sheet for Covaxin which stated that the Covid-19 vaccine has been granted approval for the restricted use of Covaxin under clinical trial mode to prevent Coronavirus disease 2019.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sought to allay apprehensions over the safety and efficacy of Covaxin and Covishield Covid-19 vaccines in India. PM Modi had said that the safety and efficacy of Covid vaccines are looked after by scientists and the people of India have a belief in experts. “Made-In-India Covid vaccines have made us proud. All the credit goes to scientists, healthcare workers,” PM Modi said.