COVID vaccine highly effective against Delta variant, says Pfizer
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is highly effective against the Delta variant of Covid-19, a Pfizer official in Israel said on Thursday.
Pfizer which is in the final stages of striking an agreement with India claimed on Thursday that its vaccine is highly effective against the Delta variant of Covid-19, the variant which has emerged as a new threat to the world.
In India, Delta variants were considered to be the reason behind the second wave. A second mutation of the variant, called Delta Plus, has also been reported in India and in some other countries, including the UK and the US. Hence, all vaccine makers are relooking their data on the effectiveness of vaccines.
First identified in India, Delta is becoming the globally dominant version of the coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization.
"The data we have today, accumulating from research we are conducting at the lab and including data from those places where the Indian variant, Delta, has replaced the British variant as the common variant, point to our vaccine being very effective, around 90%, in preventing the coronavirus disease, Covid-19," Alon Rappaport, Pfizer's medical director in Israel, told local broadcaster Army Radio.
Israel, with one of the world's most advanced vaccination campaigns largely based on the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, still lacks enough data to provide insight into vaccine effectiveness against the Delta variant, said Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of public health at Israel's Health Ministry.
"We are collecting the data now. We are only now seeing the first cases of the Delta variant in Israel - about 200 of those - so we will know more soon," she told reporters on Wednesday.
An analysis by Public Health England (PHE), where the Delta variant is more widespread, found that both the Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines provide more than 90% protection against hospitalization from the Delta variant.
In Israel, more than half the 9.3 million population has received both Pfizer shots and a steep drop in cases has prompted most economic restrictions to be lifted.
But confirmed cases have risen in the past few days and health authorities have urged parents to vaccinate their 12-to 15-year-olds, who were made eligible this month.
As Pfizer seems all set to enter India, its effect against the Delta variant will amp up India's fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The union health ministry has said that both Covishield and Covaxin, the two vaccines which have been part of India's vaccination drive, are effective against Delta variants.
Sputnik V, the Russia-made vaccine available now in India, has also claimed that the vaccine is effective against the Delta variant.
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