Bharat Biotech's India-made COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, has produced neutralising titres (concentration) against all key emerging variants tested, including the B.1.617 and B.1.1.7, first identified in India and the United Kingdom, the vaccine manufacturer informed on May 16.As per an infographic shared by Bharat Biotech joint managing director Suchitra Ella, a modest reduction in neutralisation by a factor of 1.95 was observed against the B.1.617 variant compared to the vaccine variant (D614G).
— suchitra ella (@SuchitraElla) May 16, 2021
However, it added that despite this reduction, neutralising titre levels with B.1.617 remain above levels expected to be protective. "No difference in neutralisation between B.1.1.7 (first found in the UK) and vaccine strain (D614G) was observed."
These findings are from a study conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Virology - Indian Council of Medical Research. Covaxin is one of the three COVID-19 vaccines that are currently available in the country.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
Developed by Bharat Biotech in partnership with NIV and ICMR, Covaxin was approved for emergency use in January.As per the Union Health Ministry, a total of 18,22,20,164 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across the country so far.