Covaxin, India's first indigenous vaccine to fight Covid-19, is effective against the Delta Plus variant of coronavirus, a study conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said, according to news agency ANI. Covaxin has been developed by Bharat Biotech, in collaboration with ICMR.
Delta Plus is a mutated form of the Delta variant, first discovered in India. It is characterised by increased transmissibility. Last week, Union Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh said in Parliament that 70 cases of the Delta Plus variant were found by INSACOG, a group of 28 laboratories involved in genome sequencing.
In July, the Hyderabad-based company released data from the final analysis of Covaxin and said that it demonstrated overall efficacy of 77.8 per cent against symptomatic infection. It also said that Covaxin has now received emergency use authorisations (EUAs) in 16 countries including, Brazil, India, Philippines, Iran, Mexico, with EUAs in process in 50 countries worldwide.
India has undertaken one of the world's largest vaccination drives and so far distributed more than 430 million doses. Covaxin was given emergency use authorisation on January 3 this year by India's drugs regulator, Dr VG Somani, even though its efficacy data was still not out.
The government said in May it would make 516 million shots available by the end of July. It wants to inoculate all its estimated 944 million adults by December.
Bharat Biotech, meanwhile, said that it is in discussions with the World Health Organization (WHO) to obtain emergency use listing (EUL) for Covaxin.
All documents required for EUL have been submitted to WHO by Bharat Biotech for Covaxin as of July 9 and the review process by the agency has commenced, minister of state for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar told Rajya Sabha last week.
"The review process by WHO has commenced. WHO usually takes up to six weeks to decide on Emergency Use Listing (EUL) submissions," she said in a written reply.
The first interim analysis result released by Bharat Biotech in March showed that Covaxin had an efficacy of nearly 81 per cent. The analysis was based on 43 cases, of which 36 cases of Covid-19 were observed in the placebo group versus 7 cases observed in the BBV152 (Covaxin) group, according to Bharat Biotech.
The second interim analysis released April showed that the the vaccine's efficacy against severe Covid-19 disease was 100%.