Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Dr Balram Bhargava has said interim results of the ongoing clinical trials indicated that the indigenous Covid-19 vaccines would be effective against the mutated virus strains reported from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.
A paper on Covaxin’s neutralisation potential against the UK strain has been accepted for publication, he said here on Thursday while addressing an international webinar “Kerala Health: Making the SDG A Reality,”organised by the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Kerala.
In the case of the variants from South Africa and Brazil, efforts were on to isolate the mutated virus strains from the samples collected from travellers from these two countries, he said.
The official said the third clinical trial of Covaxin BB152 had been completed as all the 25,800 volunteers involved in the exercise had been administered both the doses.
“The interim analysis report should be out in a week,” he said.
Dr Bhargava pointed out that India was the fifth country in the world to isolate the Covid-19 virus as part of the efforts to develop a vaccine for the pandemic.
With its graded response to the outbreak of Covid-19 right from the beginning, India had successfully kept the spread of the pandemic under control while utilising this period for drastically scaling up the capacity of the country’s medical infrastructure, both under the government and the private sector.
India had from the outset resisted the temptation of going for herd immunity unlike many European countries, including the UK and Italy, and its decision had been vindicated from what happened in the western nations that allowed the pandemic to spread, he pointed out.
As a result, India had not only ramped up its medical infrastructure for domestic use but had also reached the level of exporting vaccines and treatment kits on a large scale, he said.
The webinar series that began on February 17, with focus on the prospects of achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) amid an added challenge posed by Covid-19, is held across five days this month and early March.