COVID-19 vaccines hold up against India variant, study finds

Two coronavirus vaccines have shown to be effective against the variant first identified in India, according to a recent study.

British government researchers studied the effectiveness of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines against India variant B.1.617.2 and the U.K. variant, B.1.1.7.

The study, which included over 12,000 COVID-19 cases, found that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 88% effective against the India variant, and two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were 60% effective against the India variant.

Two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 93% effective against the UK variant, and two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were 66% effective against the UK variant, according to the study.

PHOTO: A health worker inoculates a man with a dose of the Covishield coronavirus vaccine on the outskirts of Amritsar, India, May 24, 2021.

Researchers looked at COVID-19 cases and vaccinations between Oct. 26, 2020 and May 16, 2021.

Those infected with the India variant were more likely to report a history of foreign travel and were more likely to live in the northwest region of the UK and in London, researchers said.

The study was not peer-reviewed, but researchers said these results emphasize the need to vaccinate the most vulnerable populations as fast as possible.

The research also underlines the importance of not skipping the second dose, which could help protect against new variants.

PHOTO: A suspected COVID-19 patient receives oxygen supply at a makeshift hospital on the outskirts of New Delhi, May 24, 2021.

Like other newly emerged variants, the India variant appears to be more contagious than the original strain of the virus, but scientists don’t have any evidence to suggest it’s more deadly at this point.

In the past month, India has recorded over 10.1 million new COVID-19 cases and 114,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus research center. Over 29,000 deaths were reported in the country last week, according to Johns Hopkins.

The country has administered over 13 million COVID-19 vaccines as of Monday, Johns Hopkins said.

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