Vaccine effective against mutated variants: Study


By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  A new study, conducted by the Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, has found that vaccines were effective in combating the mutated variants of coronavirus and guarding against severe infection, hospitalisation and even death. The study was conducted on 69 symptomatic healthcare workers working at the hospital, who tested positive for Covid-19 after their vaccination during the first 100 days of the vaccination drive earlier this year.

These healthcare workers were administered the Covishield vaccine. The study analysed nasopharyngeal samples for genome sequencing in collaboration with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Genome Sequencing is the key test to identify the nature of the virus and the variants that may emerge. Currently, this facility is available in only ten select Government organisations.

Amongst 69 people, 51 were fully vaccinated with two doses (73.91%) and the remaining 18 (26.09%) were partially immunized with a single dose, prior to acquiring the infection. “The predominant infections occurred from B.1.617.2 lineage (47.83%), followed by B.1 and B.1.1.7 strains. There were only two hospital admissions (2.89%) for minor symptoms, but no ICU admissions and deaths, from this group,” said Dr Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director and Senior Paediatric Gastroenterologist of Apollo Hospitals. The earlier study concluded that vaccines are effective with vaccine breakthrough (people getting Covid after partial or full vaccination) occurring only in a small percentage of vaccinated people.

The above was elaborated through a pilot study conducted on the vaccinated people who contracted the virus. The results were such that only 0.06% of people who contracted the virus after vaccination, required hospitalization with no ICU or ventilators used. The second study is a continuation of the first as here the study further gets narrowed to the sample who contracted the virus after vaccination. The sample was studied on the strain (B1.617.2) of the virus. The study shows that even after contracting the strain which is termed as a variant of concern by WHO (the strain is termed to be more infectious), the percentage of hospitalization with ICU and ventilators were negligible.

Hence, concluding at a fact that vaccines are effective on the mutation and should be taken by everyone, eligible for the same. These findings are significant because more than half of the cohort were found infected with the Variant of Concern (VoC) and still escaped from the severe illness. One of the key authors of this study, Dr Raju Vaishya, Sr. Consultant, Orthopaedics, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals noted:

“We noticed that the post-vaccination SARS-COV-2 infections were seen only in a small subset of our healthcare workers. The majority of these infections were minor, despite being caused by the Variants of Concern. Since the immunity in an individual takes some time after the vaccination, therefore it is essential for the vaccinated individual to be extra careful at least two weeks after the 2nd dose of vaccination and even further, by taking universal safety precautions.

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