Covaxin effective against UK variant of Covid: Study | Pune News – Times of India


PUNE: Covaxin, the indigenously developed vaccine against Covid-19, can protect recipients from the more infectious UK variant of the coronavirus, new research has found.
The study, yet to be peer-reviewed, was conducted by experts from National Institute of Virology, Indian Council of Medical Research and Bharat Biotech. It concluded that the vaccine had generated enough antibody capability in recipients (given two doses) to neutralize the mutated variant, also known as lineage B117 or 20B/501Y.V1.
India has so far detected over 100 Covid-19 cases with the UK variant of the virus.
Dr Samiran Panda, head of the ICMR’s epidemiology and communicable diseases division, said the research seems to have dispelled “any doubt” over Covaxin’s effectiveness against the variant. “When the UK variant first emerged, there was concern worldwide over the effectiveness of vaccines being developed against Covid. Sera collected from Covaxin recipients was used in the laboratory to see if the samples could neutralise the SARS-CoV-2’s UK variant. We found that antibodies in the sera could neutralize the variant effectively,” he said.
Dr Pragya D Yadav, head of the department of the Maximum Containment Facility at NIV and a co-author of the research, said, “The study, done via the plaque reduction neutralization test, used blood sera from 38 recipients of Covaxin against the UK variant, another heterologous strain as well as 770 homologous variants isolated from Covid-19 patients. The study indicated that it is unlikely the mutation 501Y would be able to dampen the potential benefits of Covaxin.”
Dr Yadav added that vaccinated individuals’ sera showed “comparable neutralization activity” against the UK variant as well as the heterologous strain of SARS-CoV-2 with similar efficiency.”
Dr Gajanan Sapkal, head of the Diagnostic Virology Group at the NIV, said, “All the sera had equivalent concentration of virus-neutralizing antibodies against the UK variant and some unclassified strains of SARS-CoV-2. Importantly, sera from the vaccine recipients could neutralize the UK variant, discounting the uncertainty around potential vaccine-induced antibody escape.”
Dr Panda said the research had important results for the country. “Its findings are good news for India as the indigenous vaccine can not only elicit strong immune response against the predominantly circulating version of SARS-CoV-2, but has also now proven to be equally effective against the UK variant,” he said.

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