In the first wave of in India last year, virus mutations were not a major issue, but the ongoing second wave, where the spike in cases is much steeper, has led to variants concern, which are more infectious and lethal. However, the vaccine technology platform for Covaxin and Covishield, can develop effective vaccines against mutations, said Y.K. Gupta, former Dean and Head of Pharmacology AIIMS, Delhi, and currently president, AIIMS – Bhopal and AIIMS-Jammu.
Gupta emphasized that unless there is a lot of variation, the vaccines (Covaxin and Covishield) will remain effective, and added so far, the vaccine is effective against the existing variants and there is no evidence that it is not generating antibodies. He insisted that these vaccines will be effective against all variants as on date.
At least five major variants have been reported in India, which include the UK variant, South Africa variant and Brazil variant. The double-mutant, which combines mutations from two separate virus variants, has been found in samples from Maharashtra, Delhi and Punjab. However, there is no evidence to establish it is widespread resulting in steep increase in Covid cases.
Could the Indian vaccine platform adapt to the change in variants in future to produce effective vaccine? Gupta replied, “Yes, it will adapt… If there is some variant against which these vaccines are not effective, then the platform can develop vaccine effective against that variant. This is a very advantageous situation. Vaccine can be developed very fast.”
Detailing on the efficacy of vaccines against the existing mutation, Gupta said as on date there is no evidence to show that currently available vaccine is less effective or non-effective against the present-day mutation, and there should not be any worry on this aspect. “When any mutation occurs against which, these vaccines are not found effective, then the platform technology which has been developed for both vaccines will help very quickly developing effective vaccine. The platform can adapt to the mutations to produce effective vaccine”, he emphasized.
Recently, several cases were reported, especially doctors, where people have contracted the viral infection even after prescribed two doses of vaccine. Gupta said it is not a situation to worry. “Vaccine does not mean that everybody who gets it, will get 100 per cent guaranteed protection. But in larger population these vaccines will prevent viral infection. That is why we say, 80 per cent or 90 per cent efficacy”, he added.
(Sumit Saxena can be contacted at [email protected])
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.
First Published: Sun, April 11 2021. 14:21 IST