As India fights vicious second wave of COVID-19, the newly detected strains of virus like Delta (B.1.617.2) and Beta (B.1.351) have become new strains of concern as cases of these strains have been increasing in various in various parts of the country.
The Delta COVID-19 variant was first detected in India and is considered to be transmissible variant of coronavirus which has the ability to evade the immune system of individuals and cause severe health complications.
However, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recently conducted a study in which it has been has revealed that Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin offers significant protection against both Beta and Delta variants of coronavirus.
COVID-19 Variants Delta And Beta
Meanwhile, both the Delta (B.1.617.2) and Beta (B.1.351) variants of coronavirus are under observation by the researchers due to their impact on the existing vaccines and the antibodies offered by them.
However, earlier this month the WHO has raised concern about both the Delta and Beta COVID-19 variants are highly infectious and pose huge transmissibility by escaping the immune system.
In the study, published in the Journal of Travel Medicine, the ICMR stated that there were characteristics of neutralising the Beta and Delta variants seen in a blood sample of the one who had received the Covaxin vaccine.
However, the government on Thursday informed that it is “actively pursuing” the improvement of Covid vaccine availability through imports and repeated that its current focus is on purposing domestic production towards its vaccination programme.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi at an online media briefing said that India hopes that individual countries would increasingly recognise made-in-India vaccines.
“Let me reiterate that our current focus continues to be on purposing domestic production towards India’s domestic vaccination programme,” he said.
Bagchi further said that, “We are also actively pursuing the enhancement of vaccine availability through imports. This has helped increase the pace of vaccination in recent weeks.”
Currently, three COVID-19 vaccines — Covaxin by Bharat Biotech, Covishield by Serum Institute of India (SII), and Russia’s Sputnik V — are being used for vaccination in India. About 36.48 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far in the country under the nationwide vaccination drive.
On being asked about the World Health Organization approval for Covaxin, Bagchi said the government is continuing to monitor the progress and added, “I would refer you to Bharat Biotech for the exact status of where it stands.”
“We also hope that individual countries would increasingly recognize made-in-India vaccines,” he said.