Delta variant 8 times less sensitive to COVID-19 vaccines: Study
COVID-19 vaccines are eight times less effective against the Delta variant of Coronavirus compared to the original SARS-CoV-2 strain discovered in China’s Wuhan city, a recent study has found. According to the study titled “Sars-Cov-2 B.1.617.2 Delta Variant Emergence and Vaccine Breakthrough: Collaborative Study”, the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is eight times less sensitive against antibodies developed by the vaccines.
The study was carried out on 100 healthcare workers at three centers in India, including Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in the national capital, with the participation of scientists from the Cambridge Institute of Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease.
As per the findings of the study, the Delta variant is highly transmissible and has the potential to dodge the natural immunity developed among patients from recovery from COVID-19. The study noted that the Delta variant was found to be more dominant among fully vaccinated healthcare workers who later got infected with the disease.
“The Delta variant generated greater transmission among the fully vaccinated healthcare workers,” the study discovered.
Based on the research findings, Dr. Chand Wattal, chairperson of the Institute of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology, SGRH, has warned against carelessness in following COVID-19 appropriate behavior even after receiving both doses of the vaccine.
“These mutations are bound to happen if we lower our guard and allow ourselves to fall prey to this virus, giving it an opportunity to multiply,” Dr. Wattal said.
Researchers also pointed out that severe symptoms were rare among fully vaccinated healthcare workers infected with COVID-19, however, infection due to Delta variant remained a concern. The study underlined that the Deltavariant has enhanced spike proteins, allowing the virus to attach itself to epithelial cells in the lungs and thereby infect more people compared to the Wuhan strain.
While the study is awaiting peer review for further confirmation, it has concluded that the Delta variant “will have a transmission advantage relative to Wuhan-1 with D614G in individuals with pre-existing immunity from vaccine/natural infection as well as in settings where there is low vaccine coverage and low prior exposure.”
First discovered in the state of Maharashtra last year, the Delta variant of COVID-19 has rapidly spread across India and other countries across the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has termed B.1.617.2 (Delta) a ‘variant of concern’ after confirming its presence in more than 100 countries.
The Delta variant caused an unprecedented surge in infected cases during the second wave of the pandemic in India.
“Dominance of the Delta variant in India has been most likely driven by a combination of evasion of neutralizing antibodies in previously infected individuals and increased virus infectivity,” the study noted.
Meanwhile, India continues to ensure efforts to vaccinate all eligible citizens against COVID-19 with the aim of achieving herd immunity