Bharat Biotech's Covaxin (BB152) has found to be effective against the Delta and Delta Plus variants of COVID-19. The Indian Council of Medical Research published a study that validated Covaxin's efficacy against Delta AY.1 and B.1.617.3 variants. The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.617.2 (Delta) variants' high transmissibility led to the second wave of COVID-19 in India. Subsequently, the delta variant further mutated to form AY.1, AY.2 and AY.3. The AY.1 emerged in India and was found in 20 other countries worldwide. This study was published on a pre-print server and has been peer-reviewed yet.
The vaccine produced by Bharat Biotech has demonstrated 77.8 per cent against symptomatic COVID-19 cases. On the other hand, the protection falls to 65.2 per cent against B.1.617.3 Delta variant. The company had concluded the final analysis of the vaccine from its Phase 3 trials in early July this year. The Business Standard quoted the study, "Here we have evaluated the IgG antibody titer and neutralizing potential of sera of COVID-19 naive individuals of full doses of BBV152 vaccine. The COVID-19 recovered cases with full-dose vaccines and breakthrough cases post-immunization of BB152 vaccines against Delta, Delta AY.1 and B.1.617.3.
Older Controversies of Bharat Biotech
Bharat Biotech has previously faced several controversies regarding its sporadic delivery schedule, and more so after the government authorized its use before the completion of the third phase of clinical trials. After this, there were a number of protests, especially from healthcare workers. There were several debates on the global level because the international community was vociferously demanding the efficacy of several vaccines like Pfizer and AstraZeneca. For India, the stakes were particularly high because the South-Asian country was road-mapping a plan to inoculate the second largest population in the world.
The use of Covaxin drew ire, particularly because the Bhartiya Janata Party allowed the circulation of the vaccine alongside AstraZeneca's vaccine, which had already completed trials.