Early Studies Show Covishield, Covaxin Effective on COVID Variant

The B1617 variant COVID-19 is most prevalent in Maharashtra and Delhi.

Updated
India
2 min read
Preliminary results of a study revealed that the two COVID vaccines currently being used in India – Covishield and Covaxin – showed efficacy against the ‘double mutant’ or the ‘India strain’ of coronavirus and displayed  milder form of infection post vaccination.
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Preliminary results of a study revealed that the two COVID vaccines currently being used in India – Covishield and Covaxin – showed efficacy against the ‘double mutant’ or the ‘India strain’ of coronavirus and displayed milder form of infection post vaccination, Director of Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) Anurag Agrawal said on Tuesday, 27 April.

"Initial positive neutralisation studies of the B.1.617 variant, for both Covaxin and Covishield , are correlatable with milder disease during post-vaccination breakthrough infections. This is a positive finding while we get quantitative data for better understanding of infection protection," the scientist tweeted.

Early results of another study by Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) suggested that usage of in-vitro neutralisation assay showed that both convalescent (prior infection) sera and Covishield-vaccinated sera offer protection against the B.1.617 variant, PTI reported.

CCMB Director Rakesh Mishra had tweeted last week, "Very preliminary but encouraging result: Covishield protects against B1617. Early results using in vitro neutralization assay show that both convalescent (prior infection) sera and Covishield vaccinated sera offer protection against the B.1.617 variant, aka Double Mutant."

The B.1.617 variant has three recent spike protein mutations. Two mutations – E484Q and L452R – are in the area important for antibody-based neutralisation. The third mutation, P681R, makes the virus enter cells in a better manner, PTI reported.

The B.1.617 variant of COVID-19 is most prevalent in Maharashtra and Delhi, both cities that are witnessing a catastrophic second wave of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, White House chief medical adviser and America’s top pandemic expert Dr Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday that India’s homegrown COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin has been found to neutralise the 617 variant of the deadly virus.

Talking to reporters, he said, “This is something where we’re still collating data on a daily basis. But the most recent data, was looking at convalescent sera of COVID-19 cases and people who received the vaccine used in India, the Covaxin. It was found to neutralise the 617 variant,” PTI reported.

Confident That Pfizer Vaccine Works on Indian Variant of COVID

BioNTech co-founder Ugur Sahin on Wednesday, 28 April, announced that the vaccine that his company jointly developed with Pfizer works against the Indian variant of COVID.

Sahin added, “We are still testing the Indian variant, but the Indian variant has mutations that we have already been tested and our vaccine works against it, so I am confident.”

He further explained, “The vaccine is cleverly built and I'm convinced the bulwark will hold. And if we have to strengthen the bulwark again, we will do it, I'm not worried about that.”

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