In a significant development, the Clinical infectious Diseases journal has found that Bharat Biotech's Covaxin is effective in neutralising emerging variants of COVID-19. According to the medical journal, the 'Made in India' vaccine was found to successfully neutralise all key emerging variants tested including the double mutant strain B.1.617, and B.1.1.7 identified in India and the UK respectively.
"A modest reduction in neutralisation by a factor of 1.95 was observed against B.1.617 variant compared to vaccine variant (D614G). Despite the reduction, neutralising titre levels with B.1.617 remain above levels expected to be protective," as per the manuscript.
The study which was conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Virology and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) also found no difference in neutralisation between the UK variant and the vaccine strain (D614G). Months ago, Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan had also explained that Covaxin is more likely to work against newer variants like N501Y variant (UK variant) and the recent double mutation (Indian variant).
In March, Bharat Biotech said that indigenously produced—Covaxi, a Whole Virion Inactivated Coronavirus Vaccine—has shown an interim clinical efficacy of 81% in its Phase 3 trials. The phase 3 trial for the vaccine was the largest ever trial conducted in India involving 25,800 subjects. The participants enrolled were between the age of 18-98 years old including 2,433 over the age of 60 and 4,500 with comorbidities. Covaxin was then granted permission for restricted use in an emergency situation by the DGCI on January 3.
Days ago Covaxin became the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive a nod by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for conducting Phase 2-3 trials on 2-18-year-olds in India. The trial will take place on 525 subjects at various sites, including AIIMS, Delhi, AIIMS, Patna and Meditrina Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagpur with two doses administered in an interval of 28 days. The trials are expected to be completed in the next 2-3 months.