Bharat Biotech on Sunday announced that its coronavirus vaccine Covaxin is effective against the mutant strains of the virus, including the ones first detected in the United Kingdom and India.
“Covaxin gets international recognition yet again, by scientific research data published demonstrating protection against the new variants,” the company’s Joint Managing Director Suchitra Ella said in a tweet.
A study published on May 7 in Clinical Infectious Diseases, a peer-reviewed medical journal published by Oxford University Press, shows that the vaccine neutralises “all key emerging variants tested”, including the B.1.617, first detected in India and the B.1.1.7, found first in the UK. Both the strains have been classified as “variants of concern” by the World Health Organization.
In another tweet, Ella said that while a modest reduction in neutralisation was found in case of the B.1.617, the “neutralizing titre levels” remained above levels expected to be protective.
Last month, the Indian Council of Medical Research, which had collaborated in the development of Covaxin, had also made similar claims about the vaccine. However, a day later, Bharat Biotech Chairperson Krishna Ella he had “did not have knowledge” on the matter.
Preliminary results of a study conducted by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology had shown last month that Serum Institute of India’s Covishield vaccine also gave protection against the B.1.617 variant.
Sunday’s development on Covaxin may give more reason for other companies to start manufacturing the Bharat Biotech vaccine. On Thursday, the Centre had said that Bharat Biotech was willing to invite other companies to produce its vaccine. The Centre also said that it will provide all possible assistance to companies willing to manufacture the vaccine to ramp up its supply.