COVID-19: Covishield, Covaxin may both work against ’double mutant’ novel coronavirus strain

ICMR, CCMB assurance can be a boon amid rising prevalence of B.1.617

Published: Monday 26 April 2021

Government of India recently said both Covishield and Covaxin would work against the B.1.617 — commonly being referred to as the ‘double mutant’ — strain of the novel coronavirus.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) April 21 said Covaxin could neutralise multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2, including the ‘double mutant’. A day later, the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) said the Covishield could too. CCMB tested convalescent plasma from recovered patients and Covishield vaccinated sera. Both convalescent sera and Covishield-vaccinated sera were found to protect against B.1.617.

Covishield reportedly did it better than convalescent plasma: The viral load was nil even when the plasma from Covishield-vaccinated people were diluted 80-fold. But the viral load was 3 per cent in the plasma of recovered patients when it was diluted 80-fold. But the study is preliminary and sample numbers are also small (4-5 samples).

E484Q and L425R are the two mutations in the double mutant which make the virus more infectious. This strain was found in saliva samples collected from Maharashtra, Punjab, and Delhi.

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