Two doses from either the Oxford/AstraZeneca or the Pfizer vaccine are over 80 per cent effective in preventing infection from the B1.617.2 variant of COVID-19, first discovered in India, a new UK government study has reportedly found.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca two-dose vaccine is also being produced by the Serum Institute of India as Covishield and being administered among the adult population in India to protect against the deadly virus.
The UK findings are said to be based on data from Public Health England (PHE) and have also revealed that the two doses provide 87 per cent protection from the B.117 variant, first discovered in Kent region of England and also considered highly transmissible.
According to 'The Telegraph' newspaper, the latest study's findings were presented to a meeting of the government''s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) this week.
The latest PHE statistics released earlier this week show that case numbers of the B1.617.2 variant had risen by 2,111 over the past week to hit 3,424 cases across the country.
"I think it's clearly growing, which anyone can see from the numbers as they are reported week by week," Dr Jeffrey Barrett, director of COVID-19 genomics at the Sanger Institute, told the BBC.
"If I had to put a guess today it would be 20 or 30 per cent rather than 50 per cent (more infectious than the Kent variant). But there is still uncertainty, 50 per cent might be a reasonable worst case scenario," he said, in reference to the rate of transmissibility of the variant of concern (VOC) first detected in India.