Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), effectively neutralizes both Alpha and Delta variants of coronavirus, revealed the studies recently conducted by the US National Institute of Health (NIH), the top American health research institute.
Two studies – Study 1 and Study 2 – were conducted in which blood serum was collected and screened from people receiving Covaxin. The results show that the vaccine generates antibodies that effectively neutralize the B.1.17 (alpha) and B.1.617 (delta) variants of SARS-CoV-2, previously identified in the UK and India, respectively. NIH said.
SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that causes Covid-19 Disease
Covaxin comprises a disabled form of SARS-CoV-2 that cannot replicate but still stimulates the immune system to make antibodies against the virus, the press release said, adding that Covaxin is “safe and well-tolerated” according to the published results from a phase 2 trial of the vaccine.
The NIH further said the 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Meanwhile, unpublished interim results from the phase 3 trial indicate that the vaccine has 78 percent efficacy against symptomatic disease, 100 percent efficacy against severe Covid-19, including hospitalization, and 70 percent efficacy against asymptomatic infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19,” he studies revealed.
Highly Effective Covaxin NIH says
- The NIH, which has a history of strong scientific collaboration with India, said a subsidiary developed with funding from it has contributed to the success of the highly effective Covaxin.
- Adjuvants are substances that are formulated as part of a vaccine to boost the immune response and increase the effectiveness of the vaccine.
- 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,” Anthony S Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of NIH, was quoted as saying.
- 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
- Alhydroxiquim-II is the first adjuvant in an authorized vaccine against infectious disease to activate receptors TLR7 and TLR8 which play a vital role in the immune response to viruses.
- Moreover, the alum in Alhydroxiquim-II stimulates the immune system to search for an invading pathogen. Molecules that activate TLR receptors stimulate the immune system powerfully, but the side effects of Alhydroxiquim-II are mild, the NIH said.
Covaxin and COVID-19 Variants
There are four variants of concern of the coronavirus disease — Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta — with Delta Plus being a sub-lineage of the Delta variant which is also a variant of concern. Recently, even the Centre said that the two vaccines — Covaxin and Covishield — are effective against the Delta variant of coronavirus.
ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava, in a press conference last week, said Covishield and Covaxin work against SARS-CoV-2 variants Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta, while effectiveness tests against the Delta Plus variant are ongoing. Besides, several other studies suggest Covaxin may be effective against multiple variants of the coronavirus.
Covaxin Shows 77 Percent Effectiveness in Phase III Trials
The results of Phase 3 clinical trials of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin showed the vaccine against Covid-19 is 77.8 percent effective. Bharat Biotech said last month that it expected approval from the World Health Organization for its Covaxin for emergency use list during July-September.
Covaxin has been given to about 25 million people in India and elsewhere so far.
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