The vaccine is currently under Phase-3 trials and is being used as part of the nationwide immunisation programme for healthcare workers

Hyderabad: Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech, has the ability to neutralise the UK variant of the coronavirus, according to a preprint review by bioRxiv, a free online archive and distribution service for unpublished preprints in the life sciences.

The archive is operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a not-for-profit research and educational institution in New York.

Bharat Biotech performed the plaque reduction neutralisation test (PRNT50) using sera collected from the 26 recipients of Covaxin and tested them against the UK variant and heterologous strain, the report said.

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“A comparable neutralisation activity of sera of the vaccinated individuals showed against UK-variant and the heterologous strain with similar efficiency, dispel the uncertainty of possible neutralisation escape,” the preprint review published in bioRxivs website said.

In the tweet, Bharat Biotech also enclosed a link to the findings of its research, which was conducted by scientists of the National Institute of Virology. The report, however, is yet to be peer reviewed.

So far, 150 cases of the UK strain have surfaced in India.

Covaxin is India’s totally indigenous COVID-19 vaccine developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology.

It is developed and manufactured in Bharat Biotech’s BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) bio-containment facility, one of its kind in the world.

The vaccine is currently under Phase-3 trials and is being used as part of the nationwide immunisation programme for healthcare workers after the Central Licensing Authority granted permission for the sale or distribution of Covaxin for restricted use in emergency situations.

Reacting to the bioRxiv review, ICMR tweeted “COVAXIN developed by @BharatBiotech with @ICMRDELHI has equivalent immunogenicity against the UK-variant & circulating strains of SARS-COV-2 in India. @icmr_niv is the first in the world to culture the UK variant.”

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