Studies have indicated that Covaxin produces fewer antibodies against B.1.617, but it is still highly effective against COVID-19.
Several reports have indicated that the Covaxin vaccine may be less effective at producing antibodies of the B.1.617 strand of COVID-19. However, medical experts have stressed that this does not affect the vaccine's overall efficacy and that research is ongoing.
According to The Hindu, scientists at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, found that both Covaxin and Covishield produce half as many antibodies against the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus as against the "original" B.1 variant.
The scientists conducted the study by collecting blood samples from individuals who had received both shots of the Covaxin or Covishield vaccines. They found that the decrease in antibodies stood at around 50% against B.1.617 (first reported from India), around 6% against B.1.1.7 (first reported from the UK), and around 50% against P.1 (first reported from Brazil).
Speaking to The Print, Anirban Mahapatra, US-based microbiologist and assistant director of the American Chemical Society, stressed that protection against the virus is not measured by the production of antibodies alone.“One cannot tie an efficacy number or effectiveness percentage to how neutralizing studies were performed in a lab. There’s no direct and clear correlation established between lab experiments and clinical efficacy yet."
Furthermore, the study from the NIV is not definitive, with scientists admitting that the tests were only carried out on a small number of samples. Similar tests with other institutions are currently underway.
In a press conference, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical advisor, said that tests had so far found that Covaxin was effective in neutralizing the B.1.617 variant, but that research is ongoing.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority.