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CoviShield, Covaxin effective against alpha-beta-gamma-delta variants: Bhargava

ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said that Covishield and Covaccine are effective against alpha, beta, gamma and delta variants of SARS-CoV-2, while their effectiveness against delta delta plus variant is being tested. Bhargava noted that the reduction in neutralization capabilities of multiple variant vaccines is based on global literature, which shows that covaxin does not change at all with the alpha variant and is therefore the same as with the standard strain.

CoviShield reduces to 2.5 times the alpha. Covaxin is effective for the delta variant, but the antibody response is reduced by threefold.

For CoviShield, it is a two-fold reduction, compared to a seven-fold reduction at Pfizer and Moderna, Bhargava said. He said that CoviShield and Covaxin are effective against variants of SARS-COVID-2 – alpha, beta, gamma and delta.

According to Bhargava, the delta plus variant has also been isolated and cultured at ICMR-NIV and tested in the laboratory to check the effect of the vaccine on the delta plus variant.
“We should get these results in seven to 10 days to see if the vaccine is working against the delta plus variant,” he said.

Bhargava also said that the second wave of COVID-19 is not over yet and added that it is possible to stop the third wave provided the individual and society follow the appropriate behavior of COVID.

He suggested that people should avoid mass gathering, use of masks properly and consistently and any signifying hotspots need to be identified immediately.