ICMR-NIV study finds Covaxin effective against the Brazil variant

at 10:00 pm
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New Delhi (NVI): Scientists at Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology have found that Covaxin is effective against the Brazil variant (B.1.128.2), according to a new study.

This comes close on the heels of their recent study that had also suggested that Covaxin was effective against both the UK variant and Indian (double mutant) variant B.1.617.

Presently, India is using two Covid 19 vaccines, Covaxin by Bharat Biotech and Covishield by Serum Institute of India, to vaccinate people across the country.

There is evidence suggesting that the country’s indigenous Covid-19 jab Covaxin is proving to be effective against some variants.

In this new study posted in the bioRxiv pre-print on April 30, scientists have shown that Covaxin is effective against the Brazil variant (B.1.1.28.2).

A new study shows that the two-dose Covaxin regimen significantly boosted the IgG (antibody) titer and neutralized efficacy against the Brazil variant and D614G variant compared to that seen with natural infection.

Led by NIV scientists Gajanan Sapkal, Pragya Yadav, Priya Abraham and others, they said that it was a robust neutralisation of B1 and B.1.1.28.2 variants among vaccine recipients.

Researchers determined the IgG immune response and neutralizing activity of the 19 convalescent sera specimens obtained from the recovered cases of COVID-19 and confirmed for UK (B.1.1.7), South African (B.1.351) and Brazil (B.1.1.28.2) variants (15-113 days post positive test) and from 42 participants immunized with an inactivated Covid-19 vaccine, BBV 152 (Covaxin) as part of a phase II clinical trial (two months post the second dose).

The response was observed with recovered cases but the study found a better response from samples of Covaxin vaccine beneficiaries, scientists said.

India has reported cases infected with the SARS-CoV-2 UK variant (B.1.1.7). Recently, South Africa variant (B.1.351) and Brazil variant P2 lineage (B.1.1.28.2) have also been detected in international travellers travelling to India from abroad.

The impact on the emergence of these new variants on the efficacy of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines or neutralizing capability of the sera of individuals infected naturally with the earlier circulating strains is currently under investigation.

Although some of the vaccines seem to be effective against the UK variant, the efficacy against the South African variant has been demonstrated to be less efficacious.

According to a recent report of NCDC, from among 15,000 samples sequenced,11 per cent comprised these variants of concern.

Till the first week of April, the number of cases with UK, South Africa and Brazil variants of the COVID virus in the country had reached 948.

–PRT