Does the Covaxin vaccine protect against the delta variant?

covaxin vaccine against delta variant
Photo via Jernej Furman/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The delta variant is quickly spreading across the globe and has become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the U.S. Studies are indicating that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are doing well at protecting against the delta variant, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine appears somewhat less effective. But does the Covaxin vaccine also protect against the delta variant?

New research indicates that the Covaxin vaccine “effectively neutralizes” both the alpha and delta variants of COVID-19, according to the National Institutes of Health. The observation is based on the results of two studies of blood serum from people who received a Covaxin shot. 

An adjuvant developed with funding from NIH has contributed to the success of the Covaxin vaccine, which was developed and manufactured by India’s Bharat Biotech International Limited in collaboration with the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research. Adjuvants are substances formulated as part of a vaccine to boost immune responses and enhance a vaccine’s effectiveness.

About 25 million people have received the Covaxin vaccine as of late June (though it’s not available in the U.S.). 

The adjuvant used in Covaxin, which is called Alhydroxiquim-II, was discovered and tested by the biotech company ViroVax LLC of Lawrence, Kansas.

“Ending a global pandemic requires a global response,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci in a NIH press release. “I am pleased that a novel vaccine adjuvant developed in the United States with NIAID support is part of an efficacious COVID-19 vaccine available to people in India.”

Published results from a phase 2 trial of the Covaxin vaccine indicate that it is “safe and well tolerated.”

According to the NIH press release, unpublished interim results from the Phase 3 trial indicate that the vaccine has 78% efficacy against symptomatic disease; 100% efficacy against severe COVID-19, including hospitalization; and 70% efficacy against asymptomatic infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. All of that combined with the efficacy numbers of Covaxin against the delta variant makes the vaccine a solid success.

The Alpha variant, also known as B.1.1.7, was first detected in the U.K., while the delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, was first found in India.

Read more on the coronavirus vaccines:

Sources: National Institutes of Health, Hindustan Times

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