Covaxin COVID-19 vaccine neutralises double-mutant strain: ICMR
Indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, neutralises multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus and effectively works against the double-mutant strain as well, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Wednesday.
Bharat Biotech's Covaxin has received Emergency Use Authorisations (EUAs) for COVID-19 treatment in India and in several countries across the globe, with another 60 applications in the process.
"ICMR study shows Covaxin neutralises against multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2 and effectively neutralises the double mutant strain as well," the ICMR tweeted.
ICMR-National Institute of Virology has successfully isolated and cultured multiple variants of concern of SARS-CoV-2 virus: B.1.1.7 (the UK variant), B.1.1.28 (Brazil variant), and B.1.351 (South Africa variant).
ICMR-NIV has demonstrated the neutralisation potential of Covaxin against the UK variant and Brazil variant, the apex health research body said.
ICMR-NIV recently has been successful in isolating and culturing the double mutant strain B.1.617 SARS-CoV-2 identified in certain regions of India and several other countries, the ICMR stated.
Image source: Bharat Biotech Twitter page
"Covaxin has been found to effectively neutralise the double mutant strain as well," it said.
Bharat Biotech will produce 30 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin next month against 15 million doses in March to support vaccination campaign in the country, its Chairman and MD Krishna Ella said on Tuesday.
The vaccine maker has ramped up its production capacity of Covaxin to 700 million doses per annum, it said in a statement. The comments have come at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has exhorted vaccine makers to scale up their production capacity to inoculate all Indians in the shortest possible time.
The government has also approved a payment of about Rs 4,500 crore as advance to vaccine makers like Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech against future supplies.
(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)