US Vaccines Effective Against Covid Variant Found In India, Say Top Officials

Washington: COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are effective against the deadly variant first detected in India, top US health officials said on Tuesday.

The B.1.617 virus variant, which was first identified in India in 2020, has been classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “variant of concern” at the global level.

“The modest neutralisation resistance to the 617 antibodies suggests that the current vaccines that we are all using that we’ve been speaking about would be at least partially and probably quite protective,” Director of US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Dr Anthony Fauci told reporters during a press conference here.

According to Dr Fauci, both the variants B617 and B1618, which have been identified in India, have been neutralised with only a 2.5 fold diminution in titer. “That’s well within the cushion effect of the capability to protect against infection and certainly against serious disease.”

“So, in summary, this is just another example of the scientific data accruing, literally over the last few days, indicating another very strong reason why we should be getting vaccinated,” Dr Fauci was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

White House COVID-19 Senior Advisor, Andy Slavitt said the vaccines that are available in the US are effective against the variant found in India.

“And it is all the more reason why it’s important for all of us, who have the opportunity to get vaccinated, to do so because we’ve seen the devastation that these variants can cause in other countries. And we should not feel that this can’t happen here,” Slavitt said.

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