Covishield, Covaxin Work Against Alpha-Beta-Gamma-Delta Variants; Being Tested Against Delta Plus: DG-ICMR

Director General of Indian Council for Medical Research (DG-ICMR), Dr Balram Bhargava said that COVID-19 vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin work against Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants of SARS-CoV-2, while their effectiveness against the Delta plus variant is being tested. Bhargava mentioned that the reduction of neutralisation capabilities of vaccines with different variants is based on global literature, which shows that Covaxin does not change with the Alpha variant at all and so it is same as it is with the standard strain.

“Covishield reduces slightly with Alpha, by 2.5 times. For the Delta variant, Covaxin is effective but antibody response is slightly reduced to three-fold reduction. For Covishield, it is two-fold reduction, while in Pfizer and Moderna it is seven-fold reduction,” Bhargava said. He stated that Covishield and Covaxin work against the variants of SARS-CoV-2 — Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta.

According to Bhargava, the Delta Plus variant has also been isolated and cultured at ICMR-NIV, and laboratory tests to check vaccine effect on Delta Plus variant. “We should have these results in seven to 10 days as to whether the vaccine is working against the Delta Plus variant,” he said.

Bhargava also said that the second wave of OVID-19 is not over yet and pointed out that it is possible to avert the third wave provided individuals and society follow Covid appropriate behaviours. He suggested that people must avoid mass gathering, use masks correctly and consistently, and any indicative hotspots need to be immediately identified.

(With inputs from IANS)

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