Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin offers protection against the Delta (B.1.617.2) as well as Beta (B.1.351) variants of SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, a joint study by researchers from Pune’s National Institute of Virology, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Bharat Biotech has found.
The study, ‘Neutralisation against B.1.351 and B.1.617.2 with sera of Covid-19 recovered cases and vaccinees of BBV152’, however, is yet to be peer-reviewed and was posted on bioRxiv preprint server on Monday.
While the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) was first found in India and is the dominant strain in the country, the Beta variant (B.1.351) was first discovered in South Africa.
The study evaluated the neutralisation potential of sera collected from 20 Covid-recovered cases and 17 people vaccinated with two doses of Covaxin against Beta and Delta variants and compared it with the prototype D614G variant.
Covaxin demonstrated protective response against the two variants of concern, the study claims.
“We observed a reduction in neutralisation titer values in Covaxin recipients against the beta and delta variants but the reduction is less than in people who have been naturally infected. So the vaccine does offer protection against the two variants,” says Dr. Pragya Yadav from the Pune-based National Institute of Virology and the first author of the preprint. The study was carried out by researchers from NIV, ICMR and Bharat Biotech.
Scientists decided it was imperative to assess the efficacy of available vaccines against these variants. Researchers evaluated the neutralisation potential of people vaccinated with Covaxin and found that it offers protection against these two variants.
“Many other studies investigating the neutralisation potential of sera collected from people administered different vaccines too have used only a small number of samples,” says Dr. Yadav.
ICMR chief Balram Bhargava and is among the authors of the report. One of the authors is from vaccine maker Bharat Biotech.
Meanwhile, the government on Tuesday, set the maximum price private hospitals can charge for three COVID-19 vaccines – Covishield ₹ 780 per dose, Covaxin ₹ 1,410 and Sputnik V ₹ 1,145.