A new United Kingdom study says the AstraZeneca and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant first identified in India.
Scientists demonstrated the effectiveness of the two vaccines against the Indian variant as well as the B.1.617.2 UK variant, according to a report published by ABC News on Tuesday.
The study, which included over 12,000 COVID-19 cases, found that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 88 percent effective against the India variant, while two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were 60 percent effective against the same variant.
It was further submitted that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 93 percent effective against the UK variant; while two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were 66 percent effective against the UK variant.
The report noted that the researchers looked at COVID-19 cases and vaccinations between October 26, 2020, and May 16, 2021.
The researchers in their findings said those infected with the Indian 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.
While the study has not been peer-reviewed, the researchers said their findings emphasise the need to vaccinate the most vulnerable populations as fast as possible, noting that the study also underlines the importance of not skipping the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which could help protect against new variants.
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.
According to data from John the Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus research centre, India in the past month has recorded over 10.1 million new COVID-19 cases and 114,000 deaths.
Over 29,000 deaths were reported in the country last week alone, according to Johns Hopkins.
The country has witnessed a significant increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths linked to the new B.1.1.7 variant.
While the country has vaccinated almost 200 million people, experts have called on the government to quickly ramp up vaccination to control the new wave of infections and deaths.