New Delhi: A new data from Public Health England (PHE) has demonstrated that COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca offers high levels of protection against the Delta variant of coronavirus.
AstraZeneca vaccine is used in India as Covishield. Real world data from PHE, demonstrated two doses of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca are 92% effective against hospitalisation due to the Delta variant and showed no deaths among those vaccinated.
The vaccine also showed a high level of effectiveness against the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7; formerly the 'Kent' variant) with an 86% reduction of hospitalisations and no deaths reported.
The higher efficacy against severe disease and hospitalisation is supported by recent data showing strong T-cell response to COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, which should correlate with high and durable protection.
Meanwhile, eleven people who received the AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine have developed a rare neurological disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome, clinicians in India and England have reported in two separate studies. While seven cases were reported from a medical centre in Kerala, where about 1.2 million people were administered in India, four were reported from Nottingham, UK, in an area in which approximately 700,000 (7 lakh) people received the jab.
However, Pangalos, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, said: "This real world evidence shows that COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca provides a high level of protection against the Delta variant, which is currently a critical area of concern given its rapid transmission. The data show that the vaccine will continue to have a significant impact around the world given that it continues to account for the overwhelming majority of supplies to India and the COVAX facility."
The analysis included 14,019 cases of the Delta variant – 122 of whom were hospitalised – between 12 April and 4 June, looking at emergency hospital admissions in England.
This real world evidence against the Delta variant is based on limited follow up after the second dose which could impact the effectiveness estimate.
The Delta variant is a key contributor to the current wave of infection in the Indian subcontinent and beyond. It has recently replaced the Alpha variant as the dominant strain in Scotland and is responsible for a notable increase in cases in the UK. The WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) has recommended COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in countries where new variants, like the Delta variant of concern, are prevalent.