Covaxin booster dose can enhance efficacy against Delta, Omicron variants: ICMR Study

NEW DELHI : A study done by ICMR’s National Institute of Virology (NIV-Pune) has revealed that a booster dose of COVAXIN will enhance its efficacy against the Delta variant and can further give protection against the Omicron variants BA.1.1 and BA.2. 

According to the research paper published by NIV Pune, Covaxin is the first vaccine in India to report safety and immunogenicity results from a booster clinical trial. 

A team of scientists led by Dr Pragya Yadav, Scientist at NIV Pune conducted the study on hamsters to compare the protective efficacy of COVAXIN following 2 and 3 dose immunizations against the Delta variant and also studied the efficacy of COVAXIN against Omicron variants in a Syrian hamster model. 

The antibody response, clinical observations, viral load reduction and lung disease severity after virus challenge were studied. The results also showed good cell-mediated response. 

“Protective response in terms of the reduction in lung viral load and lung lesions were observed in both the second as well as third dose of Covaxin immunised group when compared to placebo group following the Delta variant challenge. In spite of the comparable neutralising antibody response against the homologous vaccine strain in both the Dose 2 and Dose 3, considerable reduction in the lung disease severity was observed in the third dose immunised group post Delta variant challenge, indicating the involvement of cell mediated immune response also in protection,” said the research paper published by NIV Pune. 

“In the vaccine efficacy study against the Omicron variants BA.1 and BA.2, lesser virus shedding, lung viral load and lung disease severity were observed in the immunised groups in comparison to the placebo groups,” it added. 

“Furthermore, booster dose vaccinations enhance the neutralizing antibody responses against homologous and heterologous variants, it said.

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