Coronavirus vaccines made by pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Pfizer are effective against Delta and Kappa variants, first discovered in India, reported Reuters, citing a study.
The study conducted by Oxford University was looking into the ability of monoclonal antibodies in the blood of recovered patients and those who have been vaccinated to neutralise the two variants.
Monoclonal antibodies are artificial antibodies that mimic the activity of our immune systems to fight off infections, according to The Indian Express. They are produced through a process involving the extraction of specific antibodies from human blood and then cloning them.
“There is no evidence of widespread escape suggesting that the current generation of vaccines will provide protection against the B.1.617 lineage,” the study said, referring to the Delta and Kappa variants.
In a statement, AstraZeneca said that the results of the study were based on the recent analysis by Public Health England. The analysis by the United Kingdom body conducted last week showed that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines were highly effective in preventing hospitalisation in cases of the Delta variant. While two doses of AstraZeneca jab offered 92% protection against hospitalisation, the Pfizer shot is 96% effective.
“The analysis included 14,019 cases of the Delta variant – 166 of whom were hospitalised – between April 12 and June 4, looking at emergency hospital admissions in England,” Public Health England had said.
The Oxford study also analysed reinfection patterns in recovered patients. The risk of reinfection with the Delta variant appeared particularly high in patients who had previously contracted the Beta and Gamma variants that had emerged in South Africa and Brazil, the study said.
“We are encouraged to see the non-clinical results published from Oxford and these data, alongside the recent early real-world analysis from Public Health England, provide us with a positive indication that our vaccine can have significant impact against the Delta variant,” AstraZeneca Executive Vice President Mene Pangalos said.
On June 18, WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan had said that the Delta variant is becoming the globally dominant variant. The World Health Organization had classified it as a “variant of concern” on May 10.
The Delta variant was responsible for the devastating second wave of the pandemic in India, a government study showed earlier in June. India is still recovering from the aftermath of the second wave, which at its peak saw more than 4 lakh daily cases, and thousands of deaths every day. Several states experienced crippling shortages of oxygen, hospital beds, medical supplies and vaccines, causing citizens to take to social media to ask for help.
The cases in India have now started to decline. On Wednesday, India recorded 50,848 new coronavirus cases, which took the infection tally to 3,00,28,709. India is now only the second country, after the United States, which has 3.35 crore cases, to reach this landmark.
The toll in India rose by 1,358 to 3,90,660. However, experts suspect that the death tally is significantly more than the official figure.