Studies Show Covaxin 'Effectively Neutralises' Delta Variant: NIH

Moderna Inc has also claimed that its vaccine produced protective antibodies against the delta variant.

3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), effectively neutralises both Alpha and Delta variants of coronavirus, the American National Institute of Health (NIH) was reported as saying.</p></div>

Covaxin, developed indigenously in India, by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), effectively neutralises both Alpha and Delta variants of coronavirus, news agency PTI reported the American National Institute of Health (NIH) as saying.

"The results from two studies of blood serum from people who had received Covaxin suggest that the vaccine generates antibodies that effectively neutralise the B.1.1.7 (Alpha) and B.1.617 (Delta) variants of SARS-CoV-2, first identified in the UK and India, respectively."

The American Adjuvant in India's Covaxin

Meanwhile, the NIH has also reportedly claimed that an adjuvant developed with funding from it has contributed to the success of "the highly efficacious Covaxin". An adjuvant is a substance formulated as part of a vaccine to boost immune responses and enhance a vaccine's effectiveness.

The adjuvant used in Covaxin is Alhydroxiquim-II. As per PTI, it was first discovered and tested in a laboratory by ViroVax LLC of Lawrence, Kansas with support from the NIAID Adjuvant Development Program.

Anthony S Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the NIH, has said that he is "pleased that a novel vaccine adjuvant developed in the US with NIAID support is part of an efficacious COVID-19 vaccine available to people in India."

More About Alhydroxiquim-II

The NIH, has reportedly said:

  • Alhydroxiquim-II is the first adjuvant in an authorised vaccine against an infectious disease to activate receptors TLR7 and TLR8

  • The alum in Alhydroxiquim-II stimulates the immune system to search for an invading pathogen

  • Molecules that activate TLR receptors stimulate the immune system powerfully, but the side effects of Alhydroxiquim-II are mild.

A per PTI, NIH and Bharat Biotech's collaboration was initiating in 2019 in a meeting coordinated by the NIAID Office of Global Research under the auspices of NIAID's Indo-US Vaccine Action Program.

More Details

Pointing out that the published results from a phase two trial of the vaccine shows that it is safe and well tolerated, the NIH has said: "Meanwhile, unpublished interim results from the phase 3 trial indicate that the vaccine has 78 percent efficacy against symptomatic disease, 100 per cent efficacy against severe COVID-19, including hospitalisation, and 70 percent efficacy against asymptomatic infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19."

"The company conducted extensive safety studies of Alhydroxiquim-II and undertook the complex process of scaling up production of the adjuvant under Good Manufacturing Practice standards. Bharat Biotech expects to produce an estimated 700 million doses of Covaxin by the end of 2021."

Moderna, Too, Says Its Jab Produces Antibodies Against Delta Variant

Meanwhile, Moderna Inc has claimed that its vaccine produced protective antibodies against the delta variant as well.

After Moderna researchers tested blood samples from eight people for antibodies against versions of the spike protein from different coronavirus variants, including delta, the company, as per Bloomberg, announced that the vaccine "produced neutralising titers against all variants tested.”

As per Bloomberg, antibody levels were reduced by 4.2-fold against the eta strain first found Nigeria, and by eight-fold against a new variant identified in Angola called A.VOI.V2.

Although reduced, the neutralising antibody levels are still believed to be high enough to prevent disease, because the messenger RNA vaccine generates a strong immune reaction.

The lab-based study, however, did not directly measure vaccine effectiveness.

“We remain committed to studying emerging variants, generating data and sharing it as it becomes available. These new data are encouraging and reinforce our belief that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine should remain protective against newly detected variants.”
Stephane Bancel, Moderna CEO

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted permission to Mumbai-based pharmaceutical firm Cipla to import Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for restricted emergency use in India, Dr VK Paul announced in a press meet on Tuesday.

(With inputs from PTI and Bloomberg.)

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