Is Covishield, Covaxin, Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines effective against Delta plus variants?
New Delhi, June 23: Delta Plus variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has emerged as new threats to India's fight against the coronavirus pandemic, amid fears of third wave. A total of 40 cases have been found in India, in states like Maharashtra, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
The Delta plus variant or AY.1 is a variant of Delta, which has now been declared as a variant of concern by government of India.
A "variant of concern" has the highest threat perception among other coronavirus variants because of its increased transmissibility, infectivity, or resistance to vaccines. The threat perception for a "variant of interest" is comparatively lower.
Will Delta Plus be more transmissible?
Delta plus has addl mutant K417N, that converts Delta (B.1.617.2) to Delta plus. There are speculations that this mutant is more contagious and it's 35-60% more infectious compared to alpha variant.
However, you need not be worry. In India, the numbers are still very low. It is still a variant of interest and not a variant of concern yet, as the number of infected people is low," said Dr Subhradip Karmakar, Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, AIIMS.
"Every variant comes with a different kind of clinical response. In the previous variant, the oxygen level was dropping but we don't know what kind of consequences Delta plus variant will come with," he said.
Concern over vaccine efficacy
And there are fears that the delta plus variant could evade vaccines and pre-existing immunity to the disease.
This is because Delta plus not only has all the characteristics of the original Delta variant but, in addition, a mutation called K417N, originally found in the Beta variant in South Africa. The delta plus variant is also found resistant to the new monoclonal antibody treatment.
Covishield and Covaxin
The government has said that both Covishield and Covaxin are effective against the Delta Plus variant.
"Both the vaccines being administered in India, Covishield and Covaxin, are effective against Delta. But to what extent and what is the proportion of antibodies produced by these vaccines will be shared soon," Bhushan had said.
Russia's Sputnik V is also found to be effective against the mutating virus.
"Antibodies developed after vaccination with Sputnik V protect from all variants of COVID known today, starting from the UK variant to the so-called Delta variant, first detected in India," said Alexander Gintsburg, Director of the Gamaleya Institute.