Covaxin induces robust immune memory to SARS-Cov-2: Report

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Covaxin induces robust immune memory to SARS-Cov-2: Report

Sunday, 17 July 2022 | Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

Scientists have found that Covaxin, which is an inactivated whole-virion vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biotech, an Indian pharma, induces robust immune memory to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and variants of concern that persist for at least six months after vaccination and induces memory T cells that can respond robustly against the variants.

This may help in controlling the virus load and thus, reduce the disease severity, according to a study.

The study was published in the Nature Microbiology journal.

Although the clinical trial data were available for the vaccine efficacy, important questions remained unanswered for evidence-based policymaking particularly. These included whether the vaccine induces immune memory, how long the vaccine-induced memory persists, and whether these memory responses are able to sustain against the SARS-CoV-2 variants.

In a multi-institutional collaboration with the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, ESIC Medical College, Faridabad, Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital (LNJP) Hospital, New Delhi, LJI, LA Jolla, Dr. Nimesh Gupta and group at the National Institute of Immunology (NII), New Delhi, investigated 97 SARS-CoV-2 unexposed individuals who had received vaccine, up to six months after 2-dose vaccination. The vaccine-induced responses were compared with the immune memory in 99 individuals who recovered from mild COVID-19, the Union Ministry of Science & Technology said in a statement.

The study supported under IRHPA-COVID-19 special call by the Science and Engineering Research Board, a statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology, found that the vaccine produces antibodies against Spike, RBD, and Nucleoprotein of the virus, just like in virus infection. However, analyses of both the binding and neutralising antibodies revealed a reduced recognition of variants of concern like Delta (India), Beta (S. Africa), and Alpha (UK).

“This study showed that the vaccine is capable of inducing memory B cells. The researchers found this satisfying because antibodies may decline with time, but these memory B cells can replenish antibodies against the virus, whenever required. Their study provided the first-ever evidence of the detailed traits of immune memory generated in humans in response to an inactivated virus vaccine,” the Ministry said.

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