American vaccines effective against B.1.617 strain found in India: US
COVID-19 vaccines that are available in the US are effective against the deadly variant that was first detected in India, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in Washington. The B.1.617 virus variant, first identified in India last year, has been classified as a 'variant of concern' at the global level by the World Health Organization.
Our vaccines are partially and probably quite protective: Dr. Fauci
"The modest neutralization resistance to the 617 antibodies suggests that the current vaccines that we are all using that we've been speaking about would be at least partially and probably quite protective," Dr. Fauci told reporters on Tuesday.
'Two variants neutralized with only 2.5 fold diminution in titer'
Making a presentation of his data and latest research on this issue, Dr. Fauci said that both the variants B617 and B1618, that have been identified in India, have been neutralized with only a 2.5 fold diminution in titer. "That's well within the cushion effect of the capability to protect against infection and certainly against serious disease," he said.
Data suggests that vaccination works: Dr. Fauci
"So, in summary, this is just another example of the scientific data accruing, literally over the last few days, indicating another very strong reason why we should be getting vaccinated," Dr. Fauci said. Andy Slavitt, White House COVID-19 Senior Advisor, also said the vaccines that are available in the US are effective against the variant found in India.
We've seen the devastation that these variants can cause: Slavitt
"And it is all the more reason why it's important for all of us, who have the opportunity to get vaccinated, to do so because we've seen the devastation that these variants can cause in other countries. And we should not feel that this can't happen here," Slavitt said in response to a question. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are largely being administered in the country.
US will give away 80mn vaccine doses to other countries
President Joe Biden announced this week that the country will ship 20 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson's vaccines to unspecified countries by June end. Additionally, 60 million shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine will also be shipped subject to authorization by the drug regulator of the concerned countries. Notably, AstraZeneca's vaccine is not authorized for use in the United States yet.