Pfizer and AZ Prove Their COVID-19 Vaccines Can Keep Up with Delta and Kappa Variants
Pfizer and AstraZeneca-made COVID-19 vaccines reportedly offer very high protection against the Delta and Kappa coronavirus variants, according to the latest research by Public Health England, an agency under the Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom.
The World Health Organization says that the Delta variant, first detected in India in October 2020, has been fast becoming the dominant version of the COVID-19 virus globally. Meanwhile, the Kappa variant, also from India, is responsible for many of the cases recorded in Australia. While Kappa isn't reported as concerning as Delta, it's highly contagious and still possibly deadly. Both Delta and Kappa come from the same lineage, coded B.1.617.
The UK analysis showed that the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines can protect patients from being hospitalized by as much as 90 percent. In addition, the antibodies that developed in those who had received two shots of either vaccine were observed to be potent in neutralizing the virus.
According to the WHO, the Delta coronavirus strain is worrying because it can spread and mutate quickly and is resistant to control and preventive measures against it. The virus said to be 40 percent more contagious than the previous variants identified, has reportedly spread to over 80 countries.
The variant is responsible for 10 percent of new cases in the US alone and 40 percent of new cases in the UK as of mid-June. With that said, studies suggesting that there's hope against this massive variation is cause for some celebration.
"We are encouraged to see the non-clinical results published from Oxford, and these data, alongside the recent early real-world analysis from PHE, provide us with a positive indication that our vaccine can have a significant impact against the Delta variant," Mene Pangalos, an executive from AstraZeneca, was quoted to have said to Reuters.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is recommended for persons who have auto-immune conditions and comorbidities, specifically diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and respiratory disease. Those who have had COVID-19 previously can also get vaccinated, but ideally after six months from the time of infection. It is not recommended for those with allergies to any component of the drug and those younger than 18 years old.
Meanwhile, the Pfizer vaccine is indicated for use on individuals ages 12 years and older, and is contraindicated against those with a history of anaphylaxis to any of its components. It is also recommended for older persons without an age limit, immunocompromised, and with comorbidities.
While the study results aren't all-conclusive, the high protection rates are encouraging enough for countries to continue with massive vaccine rollout efforts. The PHE said that they will continue exploring the effectiveness of the vaccines, particularly against mortality.
The WHO has over 50 different COVID-19 variations on its watchlist, though not all of these have posed serious threats to public health. The latest discovery among which is the Lambda variant, which has exhibited multiple mutation capabilities. This variant was first detected in South America during a surveillance study.