Clinical trials indicate India’s vaccines will be effective against COVID-19 variants, says ICMR

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday said interim results of the ongoing clinical trials indicated that the indigenous COVID-19 vaccines would be effective against the mutated virus strains reported from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.

Addressing an international webinar “Kerala Health: Making the SDG A Reality,” organised by the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Kerala, Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of ICMR said a paper on Covaxin’s neutralisation potential against the UK strain has been accepted for publication.

In the case of the variants from South Africa and Brazil, efforts were on to isolate the mutated virus strains from the samples collected from travellers from these two countries, he said.

The third clinical trial of Covaxin BB152 had been completed as all the 25,800 volunteers involved in the exercise had been administered both doses. “The interim analysis report should be out in a week.”

Dr Bhargava pointed out that India was the fifth country in the world to isolate the COVID-19 virus as part of the efforts to develop a vaccine for the pandemic.

“India had from the outset resisted the temptation of going for herd immunity unlike many European countries, including the UK and Italy, and its decision had been vindicated from what happened in the western nations that allowed the pandemic to spread,” he said.

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