American pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine has received emergency use approval in India. With India granting emergency approval to another Covid-19 vaccine, there are now five shots in the country’s kitty for protection against the pandemic.
Experts around the world, however, are concerned with vaccines’ efficacy against the Delta variant, as at the time these potentially life-saving shots were being made, earlier variants of the disease, such as Alpha and Beta, were common spread. But recent studies have displayed various vaccines’ protection against the variant.
The Delta variant, known to be more transmissible and dangerous in terms of disease severity, is now becoming a cause of concern for countries around the world — as they deal with more cases, and breakthrough infections. The coronavirus mutation, which caused a devastating second wave, has now become one of the predominant variants in the United Kingdom, has spread through Israel and even initiated reimposition of restrictions in the creator of the virus China, which had earlier boasted of its victory against the disease.
How the five vaccines now approved in India work against Delta follows.
Made in India Covaxin
A late-stage trial recently found that Bharat Biotech’s vaccine Covaxin, one of the jabs India started its ambitious inoculation drive with, is 65.2% effective against the Delta variant, the firm said. “In the Phase 3 trial conducted by Bharat Biotech, subjects vaccinated with Covaxin achieved greater protection against emerging B.1.617.2 (delta) and B.1.351 (beta) variants than those who had previous natural infections. Results showed an efficacy rate of 65.2%,” Ocugen, Bharat Biotech’s partner, said in a statement.
AstraZeneca-Oxford University developed Covishield manufactured by SII
The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine developed locally by the Serum Institute of India, Pune — Covishield — also fares well against the Delta variant.
A preprint paper of a new study, posted on July 16, 2021, by a team of scientists led by Dr Pramod Kumar Garg of the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Faridabad, has reported that two doses of the Covishield Covid-19 vaccine were 63% effective against the delta variant of the novel coronavirus.
SII has said that the Covishield vaccine has a proven efficacy rate of 70%, which can be scaled up to 91% when both doses are administered 8-12 weeks apart.
Another scientific analysis, published by Public Health England, had found that two doses of Covishield were highly effective in preventing hospitalisation due to B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was found 92% effective after two doses.
Russia-made Sputnik V
Viral vector and mRNA vaccines, including Russia’s Sputnik V, provide enough protection against the new Delta strain of the coronavirus, Head of the Novosibirsk State University’s Laboratory and corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) Sergey Netesov had told Sputnik earlier. “According to data from the UK, the US and other countries, mRNA and vector vaccines, including our Sputnik V, protect against it [the Delta variant], albeit to a lesser extent, but they do protect against it. They offered 95 per cent protection against the initial strain and now they give 90% protection against the ‘delta’ variant,” Netesov had said.
Multiple lab studies suggest the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine works against the Delta variant. Two Canadian lab studies demonstrate the successful efficacy of the Moderna vaccine against Delta. However, one of them said the vaccine’s efficacy was much more reduced compared with the alpha variant. Meanwhile, a small laboratory study carried out by New York researchers suggests that Moderna was both 94% to 95% effective in preventing Covid-19 with the Delta variant. “As we seek to defeat the pandemic, it is imperative that we are proactive as the virus evolves. These new data are encouraging and reinforce our belief that the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine should remain protective against newly detected variants,” Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, had earlier said in a statement.
Johnson & Johnson’s
Data from a clinical trial in South Africa suggests that a single dose of the Covid-19 vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson is highly effective in preventing severe illness and death from the Delta and Beta variants of the coronavirus. The South African study namely Sisonke, found that the J&J vaccine has an efficacy of up to 71% against hospitalisation from the Delta variant, 67% against hospitalisation from the Beta variant, and up to 96% against death. The data however has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal, reported The Wall Street Journal.