Study by Emory University, United States, finds Covaxin capable of neutralising Delta and Omicron variants of COVID-19

Published : January 13, 2022 19:22 IST

A health worker holds a vial of Covaxin during the vaccination drive a vaccination centre in Delhi on January 11. Photo: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR


Bharat Biotech, the Hyderabad-based multinational biotechnology company that manufacturers India’s indigenous COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin, has claimed that a booster shot of its vaccine, administered six months after getting two doses of the vaccine, is capable of neutralising both the Delta and Omicron variants of the coronavirus. The vaccine, developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-National Institute of Virology (NIV), is one of the two Indian COVID-19 vaccines that have been administered to over 90.22 crore Indians.

Bharat Biotech’s claim is based on a study conducted at Emory University, United States, which will shortly be published on medRXiv, an open-source Internet site that has been a major source for the dissemination of research on COVID-19.

The study, conducted on participants who had received the two-dose schedule of Covaxin using a live virus neutralisation assay, indicated that the booster dose generated robust neutralising antibody responses against both Omicron (B.1.529) and Delta (B.1.617.2). The company said that the findings of the study suggest that a booster dose has the potential to reduce disease severity and hospitalisations.

Explained Mehul Suthar, Assistant Professor from the Emory Vaccine Centre who led the laboratory analysis at Emory University: “As the dominant COVID-19 variant throughout the world, Omicron poses a serious public health concern. Data from this preliminary study shows individuals receiving a booster dose of Covaxin have a significant immune response to both the Omicron and Delta variants. These findings suggest that a booster dose has the potential to reduce disease severity and hospitalisations.”

A statement issued by Bharat Biotech on January 12 said: “Results from a study conducted at Emory University demonstrating that sera from subjects who received a booster dose of Covaxin (BBV152) six months after getting a primary two-dose series of Covaxin, neutralised the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron and Delta variants. 100 per cent of test serum samples showed neutralisation of the Delta variant and more than 90 per cent of serum samples showed neutralisation of the Omicron variant.”

Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech, said: “We are in a continuous state of innovation and product development for Covaxin. The positive neutralisation responses against the Omicron and Delta variants validate our hypothesis of a multi-epitope vaccine generating both humoral and cell-mediated immune responses. Our goals of developing a global vaccine against COVID-19 have been achieved with the use of Covaxin as a universal vaccine for adults and children.”

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