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Covaxin effective against Brazil, UK and Indian 'double mutant' COVID-19 strain: ICMR-NIV study

The B.1.617 variant is also being called a 'double mutant' or the 'Indian strain'.

May 04, 2021 / 08:52 AM IST

Bharat Biotech's Covaxin COVID-19 vaccine is found to be effective against the Brazil variant of the novel coronavirus, B.1.128.2, Indian 'double mutant' variant and the British strain.

The study conducted by scientists at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology (NIV) claims that the two-dose regimen significantly boosted IgG antibody titer and neutralising efficacy against the Brazil variant and D614G variant as compared to that seen with natural infection, The Indian Express reported.

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India is presently using two COVID-19 vaccines -- indigenously made Covaxin and Serum Institute's Covishield. Covishield was also found to neutralise the double mutant.

Sputnik V has also been granted emergency use authorisation and rollout is expected in the next few months.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Led by NIV scientists Gajanan Sapkal, Pragya Yadav, Priya Abraham and others, the new study, published in bioRxiv on April 30, showed that Covaxin is effective against Brazil variant, the report said.

Read: Govt clarifies on vaccine orders; shares details of procurement, payment to Serum Institute, Bharat Biotech

Earlier, ICMR had said that Covaxin "successfully isolated and cultured multiple variants of concern of SARS-CoV-2 virus - B.1.1.7 (the UK variant), B.1.1.28 (Brazil variant ) and B.1.351 (South Africa variant)."

It was found to neutralise the double mutant strain as well, ICMR had said.

The B.1.617 variant of SARS-CoV2 has been found prevalent largely in Maharashtra and Delhi that have been severely hit by a devastating second wave of the pandemic.

Developed by Bharat Biotech in partnership with NIV and ICMR, Covaxin was approved for emergency use in January.

Trial results later showed the vaccine demonstrated 78 percent overall efficacy and 100 percent in severe COVID-19 cases.

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first published: May 4, 2021 08:52 am

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