New Delhi, Nov 15 (PTI) The inactivated virus vaccine Covaxin has immunological memory to SARS-CoV-2 and its variants of concern for at least up to six months, National Institute of Immunology director in-charge Pushkar Sharma said, implying the vaccine can provide protection for a minimum of that duration.
Immunological memory is the ability of the immune system to respond more rapidly and effectively to pathogens that have been encountered previously.
Sharma made the remark at the annual general body meeting of the society of the National Institute of Immunology (NII) on Sunday. The meeting was presided over by Union Minister for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh.
Sharma presented the work done by the institution in understanding fundamental processes that regulate inflammation, pathogenesis, ageing and immune response, the Science and Technology Ministry said in a statement.
He mentioned that the focus has been on various areas of research, including infection and immunity, molecular design, gene regulation and reproduction and development. In these areas, cutting edge research in modern biology is being carried out employing multiple overlapping disciplines of modern biology.
He mentioned that significant efforts have been made towards transitional research specifically for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. He further mentioned that the inactivated virus vaccine BBV152/Covaxin elicits robust cellular immune memory to SARS-CoV-2 and variants of concern -- Delta, Alpha, Beta and Gamma -- which persist at least up to six months.
NII has also provided services for COVID-19 research. Under this programme, 65 Medical laboratory technologists (MLTs)/lab technicians were trained in various aspects of COVID-19. There have been more than 30,000 samples screened so far and the positive samples have been sent for genome sequencing.
Sharma further elaborated that NII has also developed a collagen based herbal formulation for osteoarthritis (OA). The formulation (SG002) contains a bioactive collagen peptide and alcoholic extract of two exotic Himalayan plants. He added that the institute is also part of the Indo-European Consortium for Next Generation Influenza Vaccination.
The institution is part of the group working on COBRA (Computationally Optimized Broadly Reactive Antigen) vaccine.
It will be developed by analysing the sequence of influenza strains over a decade covering seasonal and pandemic strains. Based on the research from the last two decades it is suggested that COBRA vaccine is expected to provide protection against seasonal flu, all the pandemic strains of flu and any emerging flu strains, the statement said.
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