Delta dawn: AZ vaccine can tame Indian variant of Covid

New data from Public Health England demonstrates that Cambridge Big Biotech AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine offers high levels of protection against the Delta variant (formerly the ‘Indian’ variant).

Real world data from PHE shows that two doses of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca are 92 per cent effective against hospitalisation due to the Delta variant and showed no deaths among those vaccinated. 

The vaccine also showed a high level of effectiveness against the Alpha variant (formerly the ‘Kent’ variant) with an 86 per cent reduction of hospitalisations and no deaths reported.

The data suggest that vaccine effectiveness against milder symptomatic disease, although significant, was lower. Vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease was 74 per cent against the Alpha variant and 64 per cent against the Delta variant.

The higher efficacy against severe disease and hospitalisation is supported by recent data showing strong T-cell response to COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, which should correlate with high and durable protection.

Mene Pangalos, executive Vice-President, BioPharmaceuticals R & D for AstraZeneca, said: “This real world evidence shows that COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca provides a high level of protection against the Delta variant, which is currently a critical area of concern given its rapid transmission. 

“The data show that the vaccine will continue to have a significant impact around the world given that it continues to account for the overwhelming majority of supplies to India and the COVAX facility.”

The Delta variant is a key contributor to the current wave of infection in the Indian subcontinent and beyond. It has recently replaced the Alpha variant as the dominant strain in Scotland and is responsible for a notable increase in cases in the UK. 

The WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) has recommended COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in countries where new variants, like the Delta variant of concern, are prevalent.