Covaxin likely to be effective against Omicron variant, too: ICMR official

Monika Yadav | | | Updated on: Dec 01, 2021
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However, Bharat Biotech remained tight-lipped

Covaxin is likely to be more effective against the highly-mutating Omicron variant than other Covid-19 vaccines, claimed an official of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

“Covaxin is a whole virion-inactivated vaccine. It covers the entire virus, so it can work against this highly mutated new variant,” the official said. “Earlier it was found that Covaxin was effective against all the variants such as Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta. So, we expect that it will be effective against the new variant as well,” said another ICMR official.

“But till we get samples and test them, we have to be watchful... we expect that it will provide protection. Once we get samples, we will test the vaccine’s efficacy at the National Institute of Virology, Pune,” he added.

Bharat Bio silent

Bharat Biotech remained tight-lipped. “Covaxin was developed against the original Wuhan variant. It has shown that it can work against other variants, including the Delta strain. We continue to research new variants,” said a company source.

Kedar Toraskar of Wockhardt Hospital echoed the observations. “Since Covaxin covers all antigen and epitopes and not just the spike protein like the mRNA or the adenovector vaccines, it may give a better protection against Omicron. We will require further studies and tests to back it up,” he added.

South Africa first reported the new strain Omicron to the World Health Organization on November 24. However, the Dutch authorities on Tuesday said the variant had been present in the Netherlands before South Africa discovered it.

With inputs from G Naga Sridhar in Hyderabad

Published on December 01, 2021

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