COVID-19 vaccines approved by the United States like Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson have effectiveness against the B1617 variant of the virus that is predominant in India, which is experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of the pandemic, a top American health official said.
The observation is based on the latest data about the variant and the three major vaccines approved by the United States, said Dr Francis Collins, Director of National Institute of Science.
The data is coming in, and it looks very encouraging that the U.S.-approved vaccines, the Pfizer, the Moderna, the J&J, do have effectiveness against this variant called B1617, Collins told the media.
It’s a little less effective in that case than some of the others, but it looks like it ought to be good enough to make Americans protected. And that’s really a good thing to hear, he said in response to a question.
Early this week, the World Health Organization classified the B1617 SARS-CoV-2 variant, which was first detected in India, as a variant of concern. The WHO said that evidence showed B1617 was more transmissible.
A WHO report on Wednesday said the B1617 variant of Covid-19 had been detected in sequences uploaded "from 44 countries in all six WHO regions”.
"As of 11 May, over 4,500 sequences have been uploaded to GISAID (platform of data sharing mechanism for influenza) and assigned to B.1.617 from 44 countries in all six WHO regions, and WHO has received reports of detection from five additional countries,” it said in its weekly epidemiological update on the pandemic.