New Delhi: On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci who is the chief medical adviser to the White House said that Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin has been found to neutralise the 617 variant of the deadly virus during a press conference in Washington.
Covaxin was which was developed by Bharat Biotech in partnership with National Institute of Virology and the Indian Council of Medical Research was approved for emergency use on January 3rd ahead of completion of trials. Trial results later showed the vaccine has an efficacy of 78 per cent.
Dr. Fauci said “This is something where we’re still gaining data on a daily basis. But the most recent data, was looking at convalescent Sera of COVID-19 cases and people who received the vaccine used in India, the Covaxin. It was found to neutralise the 617 variants,” during the press conference according to PTI.
“So, despite the real difficulty that we’re seeing in India, vaccination could be a very, very important antidote against this,” Fauci said.
How Covaxin works
Covaxin was developed by using inactive Covid-19 virus like the vaccines for Polio or Rabies. The New York Times on Tuesday said Covaxin works by teaching the immune system to make antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The antibodies attach to viral proteins, such as the so-called spike proteins that stud its surface.
Inactivated vaccines do not replicate and are therefore unlikely to revert and cause pathological effects. They contain dead virus, incapable of infecting people but still able to instruct the immune system to mount a defensive reaction against an infection.
CDC Team heads to India
Dr Andy Slavitt, White House COVID-19 Response Senior Advisor, said that a strike team from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is headed over to India to help coordinate this response.
“We are making sure that we are locating some of the raw materials necessary to create more vaccines in India, which I think is going to be an important help there,” he said.
“We stand with the country of India during this very trying and tragic surge. We are working to deploy resources and supplies, including therapeutics, rapid testing kits, ventilators, PPE, and raw materials, that are needed to manufacture vaccines in India, and the CDC, which has a long history of working with and in India on public health measures, will be deploying a strike team to the country to support the public health efforts there,” Slavitt said.
Supplies to come from US
“Given the strong portfolio of approved, highly effective and safe vaccines here in the United States, the administration is looking at options to share AstraZeneca vaccines with other countries as they become available. This should amount to around 60 million doses or so over the next two months,” he further added.
“The AstraZeneca vaccine is highly safe and effective, and approved in many parts of the world, and since it is not approved for use in the US, we do not need to use the AstraZeneca vaccine here during the next few months,” Slavitt said.
“We have sufficient supply of vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson to accommodate our needs in the US,” he added.