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Covaxin effective against Brazil variant, finds ICMR-NIV study

This finding comes close on the heels of their study that also suggested that Covaxin was effective against the UK variant as well as the Indian (double mutant) variant B.1.617.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
Updated: May 3, 2021 12:08:18 am
CovaxinThe 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. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

In a new study, 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.

This finding comes close on the heels of their study that also suggested that Covaxin was effective against the UK variant as well as the 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.

In this new study, published in bioRxiv preprint on April 30, scientists have shown that Covaxin is effective against the Brazil variant. The study shows 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.

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

Researchers determined the IgG immune response and neutralising activity of the 19 convalescent sera specimens obtained from 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 to 113 days after a positive test) and from 42 participants immunised with an inactivated Covid-19 vaccine, BBV 152 (Covaxin), as part of a Phase-II clinical trial (two months after the second dose).

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

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India has reported cases infected with 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.

The impact on the emergence of these new variants on the efficacy of the currently available Covid-19 vaccines or neutralising 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 lower.

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According to a recent report of National Centre for Disease Control (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 in the country has reached 948.

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First published on: 01-05-2021 at 03:29:49 pm

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