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World|health|July 7, 2021 / 09:50 AM
India's Covaxin effectively neutralises Delta variant of Covid: US National Institute of Health
A health worker displays the empty vials of COVAXIN vaccine for COVID-19 (AP Photo)

AKIPRESS.COM - India’s Coronavirus vaccine Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research, effectively neutralises both Alpha and Delta variants of coronavirus, the U.S National Institute of Health (NIH) has said, The Indian Express reported.

The NIH said results of two studies of blood serum from people who had received Covaxin suggest that the vaccine generates antibodies that effectively neutralise the B.1.1.7 (Alpha) and B.1.617 (Delta) variants of SARS-CoV-2, first identified in the UK and India, respectively.

The top American health research institute, which has a history of strong scientific collaboration with India, also said that an adjuvant developed with funding from it has contributed to the success of the highly efficacious Covaxin, which has been administered to roughly 25 million people till date in India and elsewhere.

Covaxin, has received Emergency Use Authorisation in India and more than a dozen other countries.

Adjuvants are substances formulated as part of a vaccine to boost immune responses and enhance a vaccine’s effectiveness.

Covaxin comprises a disabled form of SARS-CoV-2, that cannot replicate but still stimulates the immune system to make antibodies against the virus. Published results from a phase-2 trial of the vaccine indicate that it is safe and well tolerated, the NIH said, adding that safety data from a phase-3 trial of Covaxin will become available later this year.

Meanwhile, unpublished interim results from the phase -3 trial indicate that the vaccine has 78 per cent efficacy against symptomatic disease, 100 per cent efficacy against severe COVID-19, including hospitalisation, and 70 per cent efficacy against asymptomatic infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, it said.

Ending a global pandemic requires a global response, said Anthony S Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of NIH.

I am pleased that a novel vaccine adjuvant developed in the US with NIAID support is part of an efficacious COVID-19 vaccine available to people in India, he said.

The adjuvant used in Covaxin, Alhydroxiquim-II, was discovered and tested in a laboratory by the biotech company ViroVax LLC of Lawrence, Kansas with support from the NIAID Adjuvant Development Program.

According to the NIH, the NIAID Adjuvant Program has supported the research of the founder of ViroVax Dr. Sunil David. His work has focused on searching for novel molecules that activate innate immune receptors and developing them as vaccine adjuvants.

The collaboration between ViroVax LLC and Bharat Biotech International Limited of Hyderabad was initiated during a 2019 meeting in India coordinated by the NIAID Office of Global Research under the auspices of NIAID’s Indo-US Vaccine Action Program.

The company conducted extensive safety studies of Alhydroxiquim-II and undertook the complex process of scaling up production of the adjuvant under Good Manufacturing Practice standards. Bharat Biotech expects to produce an estimated 700 million doses of Covaxin by the end of 2021, the NIH said.

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