AstraZeneca, Pfizer’s Vaccines Effective Against Delta and Kappa Variants, Study Shows

Coronavirus vaccines manufactured by pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Pfizer are effective against the Delta and Kappa variants, first discovered in India, Reuters reported, citing a study.

The study conducted by the University of Oxford looked at the ability of monoclonal antibodies in the blood of recovered patients and those who were vaccinated to neutralize both variants.

Monoclonal antibodies are artificial antibodies that mimic the activity of our immune system to fight infections, according to Indian express. They are produced by a process involving the extraction of specific antibodies from human blood and then their cloning.

“There is no widespread evasion evidence to suggest that the current generation of vaccines will offer protection against the B.1.617 lineage,” the study said, referring to the Delta and Kappa variants.

In a statement, AstraZeneca said the study results were based on recent analysis from Public Health England. The British body’s analysis conducted last week showed that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines were very effective in preventing hospitalization in cases of the Delta variant. While two doses of AstraZeneca jab offered 92% protection against hospitalization, the Pfizer injection is 96% effective.

“The analysis included 14,019 cases of the Delta variant – of which 166 were hospitalized – between April 12 and June 4, looking at hospital emergency admissions in England,” Public Health England said.

The Oxford study also analyzed patterns of reinfection in recovered patients. The risk of re-infection with the Delta variant appeared to be particularly high in patients who had previously contracted the beta and gamma variants that appeared in South Africa and Brazil, according to the study.

“We are encouraged to see the non-clinical results published from Oxford and this data, along with the recent real-world analysis from Public Health England, provides us with a positive indication that our vaccine may have a significant impact against the Delta variant. AstraZeneca Executive Vice President Mene Pangalos said.

On June 18, WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said the Delta variant was becoming the dominant variant globally. The World Health Organization had classified it as a “variant of concern” on May 10.

The Delta variant was responsible for the devastating second wave of the pandemic in India, a government study showed earlier in June. India is still recovering from the aftermath of the second wave, which at its peak saw more than 4 lakh of cases per day and thousands of deaths each day. Several states have experienced crippling shortages of oxygen, hospital beds, medical supplies and vaccines, forcing citizens to turn to social media for help.

Cases in India have now started to decline. India on Wednesday recorded 50,848 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the number of infections to 3,00 28,709. India is now only the second country, after the United States, which has 3, 35 million cases, to reach this benchmark.

The death toll in India rose from 1,358 to 3,90,660. However, experts suspect the death toll is significantly higher than the official figure.

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