Double COVID Jab Protects Against Delta Variant: EMA

Four vaccines approved for use in the EU are Pfizer's BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Image used for representational purposes.&nbsp;</p></div>

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on Thursday, 1 July, that two doses of the COVID vaccines approved for use in the European Union appear to provide protection against the rapidly spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus, reported news agency AFP.

The assessment came in the wake of the World Health Organization's (WHO) recent warning that the Delta variant, which was first spotted in India, could add to a new wave of cases in Europe.

The Amsterdam-based watchdog was "aware of concerns caused by the rapid spread of the Delta variant", Marco Cavaleri, EMA's head of vaccine strategy was quoted as saying.

He added, "Right now it seems the four vaccines approved in the European Union are protecting against all the strains circulating in Europe, including the Delta variant," he said.

Cavaleri explained, "Emerging data from real-world evidence has shown that two doses of vaccines are protective against the Delta variant," AFP reported.

Currently, four vaccines are approved for use in the EU – Pfizer's BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

What Is the Delta Variant?

Scientifically named B.1.617.2, the Delta variant contains mutations from two separate variants. It is 40%-50% more transmissible than the Alpha strain identified in the UK.

The Delta variant has spread to at least 74 countries. It is also causing concerns in the UK and the US, where it comprises 91% and over 10% of the new cases, respectively.

Chief Scientist at WHO Soumya Swaminathan had earlier said that the Delta variant was becoming the dominant variant globally.

The Delta variant has now acquired the K417N spike mutation to form the ‘Delta Plus’ or AY.1 variant. The earliest sequence of this genome was found in Europe in March this year.

In India, the Delta Plus variant has so far been traced in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala

(With inputs from AFP)

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