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At a time when India was witnessing a fall in the daily coronavirus cases from across the state, a new Delta variant was found affecting many in various parts of the country. The newly detected variant is said to be highly transmissible and has the capability to cause a third wave of COVID in India. However, in a major relief, AstraZeneca has said that a new data from Public Health England (PHE) demonstrated that COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca can offer high levels of protection against the Delta variant (B.1.617.2; formerly the 'Indian variant).
AstraZeneca vaccine is used in India as Covishield. In the demonstration the Public Health England (PHE) highlighted these points for the efficacy of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca against the newly found variant:
The higher efficacy against severe disease and hospitalisation is supported by recent data showing strong T-cell response to COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, which should correlate with high and durable protection. "This real world evidence shows that COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca provides a high level of protection against the Delta variant, which is currently a critical area of concern given its rapid transmission. The data show that the vaccine will continue to have a significant impact around the world given that it continues to account for the overwhelming majority of supplies to India and the COVAX facility," Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D quoted as saying.
The analysis included 14,019 cases of the Delta variant 122 of whom were hospitalised between 12 April and 4 June, looking at emergency hospital admissions in England. This real world evidence against the Delta variant is based on limited follow up after the second dose which could impact the effectiveness estimate.
The Delta variant is a key contributor to the current wave of infection in the Indian subcontinent and beyond. It has recently replaced the Alpha variant as the dominant strain in Scotland and is responsible for a notable increase in cases in the UK. The WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) has recommended COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in countries where new variants, like the Delta variant of concern, are prevalent.
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