COVAXIN effectively neutralizes the Delta variant, top US body says
Through the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen many variants emerge and cause fatal outbreaks across the globe. Presently, experts are raising concerns about the new Delta Plus variant. It is taking hold in India and other countries, and doctors say it may be able to evade prior immunity. Meanwhile, a top US body has said COVAXIN is effective against the Delta variant.
What is the Delta Plus variant?
The new variant was formed through an additional mutation (K417N) to the Delta variant (B.1.617.2), which drove India's deadly second wave of the pandemic. It was recently categorized as a "Variant of Concern" by the Indian government. A top genome sequencing authority in India said the variant has several dangerous characteristics, including increased transmissibility and stronger binding in receptors of lung cells.
Will this variant affect vaccine efficacy?
There is no data available yet to state the Delta Plus variant would affect the immunity developed from vaccination, said Dr. Tanu Singhal, Consultant, Paediatrics and Infectious Disease at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai. "We don't have sufficient knowledge about the transmissibility or the virulence or the immune escape properties of this Delta Plus variant," Dr. Singhal told Hindustan Times.
Can a recovered patient get re-infected with Delta Plus?
"So far, reinfections have been few," said Dr. Singhal. Even in cases of reinfection, the disease is mostly mild and the patient doesn't require hospitalization, she informed. However, it is too early to say if that will be the case with Delta Plus variant as well, the doctor added. "We don't know how common that is going to be for reinfection with Delta Plus."
Are there are any additional symptoms you should know about?
"We do not have data so far to establish that the symptoms are milder or more severe as compared to the Delta variant," Dr. Singhal told HT. The most common symptoms of the coronavirus are fever, dry cough, fatigue, body aches, headache, anosmia, tastelessness, etc.
Separately, study finds COVAXIN effective against Delta
Separately, COVAXIN - India's only approved indigenous jab so far - is effective against both Alpha and Delta variants of the COVID-19, the United States' National Institute of Health (NIH) said. The NIH cited results of two studies where blood serum of COVAXIN recipients was tested against the said two variants. COVAXIN has been found 78% effective against symptomatic disease in phase three trials.
India's coronavirus situation
India had faced the world's worst coronavirus outbreak earlier this year, witnessing lakhs of cases and thousands of fatalities daily amid an overburdened healthcare infrastructure. The situation has since improved. In the past 24 hours, the country reported 45,951 fresh cases and 817 fatalities. 19% of the Indian population has received a COVID-19 vaccine shot while 4% has been fully inoculated.