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India's Covishield vaccine proves to be effective against UK strain of COVID-19

India's Covishield vaccine proves to be effective against UK strain of COVID-19

UK was one of the first nations to officially commence vaccinations for the common folk, however, the happiness for the vaccine was shortlived with the new strain of the novel coronavirus, B.1.1.7 wreaking havoc throughout the nation.
This new strain made many feel fearful of the fact that the vaccines that have started to roll out might not protect them from this advanced strain of novel coronavirus.
However, now Oxford University and AstraZeneca (the company that’s authorised Serum Institute to make Covishield in India) have revealed that their vaccine ChAdOx1 is effective against the new variant.
Oxford-AstraZeneca has revealed that the vaccine offers similar levels of protection against the British variant of SARS CoV-2 as the original form of the virus.
Professor Andrew Pollard, Chief Investigator on the Oxford vaccine trial said in a statement, "Data from our trials of the ChAdOx1 vaccine in the United Kingdom indicate that the vaccine not only protects against the original pandemic virus but also protects against the novel variant, B.1.1.7, which caused the surge in disease from the end of 2020 across the UK."
The findings were released in a preprint paper and are yet to be peer-reviewed. These also showed detailed analysis showing that one dose of the vaccine can shorten the duration of the shedding and viral load which could result in reduced transmission of the disease.
Researchers have also stated that they’re currently conducting analysis to see the effectiveness of the vaccine against the South African and Brazillian variants that are carrying the dangerous E484K mutation -- something that’s not present in the B.1.1.7.
To the uninitiated, this mutation alters the shape of the spike proteins of the virus that helps it to escape parts of immune response that is generated by the newer vaccines.
Although it is important to note that they still offer protection against the severe case of the disease.
India has seen a rising number of cases of infection with the UK variant; on January 23, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that at least 150 people have tested positive for the mutant strain.
The UK strain was one of the main reasons that Bharat Biotech received restricted emergency approval in India despite Covaxin not having completed enough large-scale human trials to show even interim information on its efficacy (ability to bring down symptomatic Covid-19 cases in those vaccinated).
The pre-print findings are the first set of evidence of the vaccine’s ability to work against the UK mutant strain.

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