Covaxin "Effectively Neutralises" UK Covid Strain, Says Bharat Biotech

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Covaxin 'Effectively Neutralises' UK Covid Strain, Says Bharat Biotech

Covaxin, which is still in trial stage, was approved for use earlier this month.

New Delhi:

Bharat Biotech said today that its coronavirus vaccine Covaxin has been found effective against the UK variant of the virus, which is considered 70 per cent more infectious than the Wuhan variety and is more lethal. In a tweet today, Bharat Biotech said "Covaxin effectively neutralises UK variants of SARS-CoV-2 reducing the possibility of mutant virus escape".

In the tweet, the firm also enclosed a link to its research findings. The report, however, is yet to be peer reviewed.

Neutralization of UK-variant VUI-202012/01 with COVAXIN vaccinated human serum https://t.co/v8Me4TzGgh#BharatBiotech#COVAXIN#bioRxiv#COVID19pic.twitter.com/7R3FlsWAX3

— BharatBiotech (@BharatBiotech) January 27, 2021

So far, 150 cases of the UK strain have surfaced in India.

Covaxin, which is still in trial stage, was approved for use by the country's drugs regulatory authority earlier this month. The regulator, however, said the vaccine's use will be in the clinical trial mode, meaning all its recipients will be tracked and monitored as if they are in trial.  

In Delhi, the vaccine is being administered in the six centrally run hospitals.

The UK variant of the virus, which Covaxin was tested against, could be more deadly, British doctors have found.

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Last week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the strain which is sweeping Britain and beyond in could be more deadly as well as more transmissible.

"In addition to spreading more quickly, it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant... may be associated with a higher degree of mortality," Mr Johnson told reporters on Friday.

British government's chief scientist Patrick Vallance said the strain could be 30 to 40 per cent more deadly for some age groups, though there is not enough data on this yet.

Over the past week, Covid-linked deaths in the UK have gone up by 16 per cent. The number of people hospitalised is nearly double the number of April, when the country was battling the first wave of the pandemic.

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