Preliminary results of a study have shown that Covishield vaccine protects against the B.1.617 variant of coronavirus, also known as the double mutant strain, Rakesh Mishra, director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology said on Thursday. He said the study was conducted by the CCMB, an institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
“Very preliminary but encouraging result: #Covishield protects against #B1617. Early results using in vitro neutralisation assay show that both convalescent (prior infection) sera and Covishield-vaccinated sera offer protection against the B.1.617 variant, aka #DoubleMutant,” Mishra tweeted. However, Mishra was not available for further details.
Covishield, the Oxford-Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine, is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII). The B.1.617 variant contains mutations from two separate virus variants, namely E484Q and L452R. The double mutant strain was found in saliva samples collected from Maharashtra, Punjab, and Delhi. There is apprehension among experts that the new variant could also increase infection rates and easily surpass immune defences.