COVID-19 vaccines that are available in the United States are effective against the deadly variant, B.1.617, that was first detected in India, top US health officials said on Tuesday. The variant which was first found in India has been termed as 'variant of concern' by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases with chief medical officer made the official statement to the press.
As reported news agency PTI, Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the chief medical advisor to the President told reporters during a news conference:
The modest neutralization resistance to the 617 antibodies suggests that the current vaccines that we are all using that we've been speaking about would be at least partially and probably quite protective.
Making a presentation of his latest research on this issue, Dr Fauci said that both the variants, B617 and B1618, which have been identified in India, have been neutralized with only a 2.5 fold diminution in titer.
That's well within the cushion effect of the capability to protect against infection and certainly against serious disease.
Highlighting the scientific evidence of vaccine effectiveness, Dr. Fauci said that this is another example of why people need to get vaccinated. "So, in summary, this is just another example of the scientific data accruing, literally over the last few days, indicating another very strong reason why we should be getting vaccinated," he said.
Andy Slavitt, White House COVID-19 Senior Advisor also made a similar assurance stating that the vaccines that are available in the US are effective against the variant that originated in India. The senior advisor also pointed out that these variants can cause devastating effects and vaccination is therefore essential.
And it is all the more reason why it's important for all of us, who have the opportunity to get vaccinated, to do so because we've seen the devastation that these variants can cause in other countries. And we should not feel that this can't happen here.
Termed as a 'variant of concern' by WHO, the B.1.617 is a double mutant of COVID-19 which has left a severe effect on India. The two mutations are also one of the reasons behind the virus surge in the country. It is yet to be deciphered where the variant first originated and started spreading, however, reports show it was first found in Maharashtra.
(Inputs from ANI)