Though the ‘Indian variant’ of Covid-19, the B.1.617, has a ‘modest’ ability to escape the antibodies developed by vaccines, it can at worst cause moderate illness among those who have got the shots, according to Indian and British scientists.
“Data do go some way in explaining the dominance of this variant in a partially immune population, but highlights that vaccination is still protective for the majority of the people,” said Ravi Gupta – in Gupta Lab, his Twitter handle – of the department of medicine, University of Cambridge, and author of a new study.
Scientists from the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG), which includes top national laboratories, and Cambridge university, in a research paper said that there was a possibility of some getting infected with the variant despite the vaccination. But the infection would be mild, they said.
Dr Anurag Agrawal, director, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi, and co-author of the paper, told the Times of India that vaccines protect against B.1.617. “There is an immune escape, but not of a high degree,” he asserted.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has categorised B.1.617 as ‘a variant of concern.’ Besides the Indian variant, there are three others in that category: the UK, South African and Brazilian variants.