New Delhi: Covaxin, India’s home-grown Covid-19 vaccine, has been found to neutralize the 617 variant of the deadly covid virus, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House Chief Medical Adviser, and America’s pandemic expert.
On a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Dr. Fauci said that looking at the most recent data of convalescent sera of Covid-19 cases and of the people who have received the Covaxin vaccine, it was found to neutralize 617 variant.
“So, despite the really difficult situation in India, vaccination could be a very, very important antidote against this crisis,” Dr. Fauci told the reporters.
Developed by Bharat biotech in partnership with the National Institute of Virology and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Covaxin showed an efficacy of 78% in the trial results.
It was approved for emergency use on January 3 while still in a clinical trial.
The New York Times on Tuesday reported that Covaxin works by working on dead viruses and teaching the immune system to make antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The formed antibodies then attach to spike proteins, a viral protein that studs its surface.
The B.1.617 variant, found mostly in the states of Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Delhi, has three new spike protein mutations. This variant is the reason for the rising deadly second surge in Covid nationwide.
Dr. Andy Slavitt, White House Covid-19 Response Senior Advisor while answering a question mentioned that a strike team from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has been sent to India to help coordinate the response to covid. He also said that the US is locating some of the raw materials necessary to manufacture more vaccines in India.
WHO in its weekly epidemiological update on the pandemic on Tuesday said that 617, a “variant of interest” of Covid-19 which has surged in rising covid cases in India has been found in over 17 countries.
Similarly, The UN health agency said the 617 variant of Covid-19 which was first found in India had as of Tuesday been detected in over 1,200 sequences. This data was uploaded to the GISAID open-access database from at least 17 countries.