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Study shows Bharat Biotech vaccine can fight UK strain of virus

Bharat Biotech's Covaxin can fight the UK strain of virus, says study (IANS)

The Covaxin vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is likely to be effective against the more virulent UK strain of the coronavirus, according to a study on 26 participants shared by the company on Wednesday.

The results of the study on Covaxin have been published on the website bioRxiv that carries research not certified by peer review.

“Sera from the vaccine recipients could neutralise the UK-variant strains discounting the uncertainty around potential escape,” wrote scientists from Bharat Biotech and ICMR.

“It is unlikely that the mutation 501Y would be able to dampen the potential benefits of the vaccine in concern.”

Another study published on bioRxiv last week said a vaccine developed by U.S. company Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech was also likely to protect against the more infectious variant that has now spread around the world, with 150 cases in India.

India’s drug regulator had earlier said the vaccine has the ability to act against the whole body of a virus instead of just its “spike-protein” tip, potentially making it more effective in case of mutations.

India has already expanded the use of the vaccine in its massive immunisation programme that began on Jan. 16 and has so far covered more than 20 lakh frontline workers  doctors, nurses and sanitation staff.

Bharat Biotech has sought emergency-use authorisation for its vaccine in the Philippines and is also in talks with Brazil to sell shots.