Are present COVID vaccines effective against BF.7? India isolates new variant to test efficacy
India has isolated a sample of SARS-CoV-2 virus containing BF.7, the strain which is believed to be driving the spike in COVID-19 cases in China and several other countries, to ascertain whether the existing vaccines are effective against the new sub-variant.
The isolate sample is being studied to assess the efficacy of vaccines, a Times of India report quoted government sources as saying.
“Scientists are studying whether the currently available vaccines are effective in preventing infections or serious illness caused by the new sub-variant,” a source said.
So far, four cases of the BF.7 variant, a sub-lineage of the Omicron strain, have been reported in India – three in Gujarat and one in Odisha. All four patients were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms and they recovered from the disease.
While India has approved several vaccines for its nation-wide inoculation drive, most of the people have been administered either Serum Institute-manufactured Covishield or Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
Besides these two, the vaccines which have received India’s nod for the vaccination drive are - Sputnik V, Corbevax and Covovax. Bharat Biotech’s iNCOVACC, the world’s first intranasal COVID-19 vaccine, also recently received approval from the country’s drug regulator for heterologous booster for people above 18 years and above.
COVID-19 vaccination drive in India started on January 16, 2021.