As per a new UK government study, two doses from either the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine is 80 per cent effective in preventing the B1.617.2 Covid variant, which was first discovered in India.
The study, based on data from Public Health England and presented at a meeting of the government's New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), has also found that two doses also provide 87 per cent protection against the highly transmissible B.117 coronavirus variant which first emerged in England.
As per PHE's data, the case numbers of the B1.617.2 variant has risen by 2,111 over the past week to reach 3,424 cases countrywide.
"I think it's clearly growing, which anyone can see from the numbers as they are reported week by week," Dr Jeffrey Barrett, director of COVID-19 genomics at the Sanger Institute, said.
"If I had to put a guess today it would be 20 or 30 per cent rather than 50 per cent (more infectious than the Kent variant). But there is still uncertainty, 50 per cent might be a reasonable worst-case scenario," he said, referring to the rate of transmissibility of the variant of concern (VOC) first detected in India.