Bharat Biotech/OcugenBharat Biotech (Hyderabad, India) and its partner Ocugen (NSDQ:OCGN) have announced that their Covaxin (BBV152) COVID-19 vaccine candidate generated a strong neutralizing antibody response against the omicron (B.1.529) and delta (B.1.617.2) variants.

The data comes from a study at Emory University involving sera from participants who received three doses of the vaccine with a 28-day interval between the first and second doses. The booster dose was administered at six months.

The inactivated Covaxin vaccine is currently authorized in 13 countries, which include India and Mexico.

WHO has granted the vaccine an emergency use listing.

In the clinical trial, two vaccine doses were 78% effective against COVID-19 of any severity, while protection against severe disease was 93%.

In the recent research at Emory using a live virus neutralization assay, neutralization activity against the omicron variant was similar to that from mRNA vaccine-boosted sera.

“As the dominant COVID-19 variant throughout the world, omicron poses a serious public health concern,” said Mehul Suthar, assistant professor, Emory Vaccine Center, in a statement. “Data from this preliminary analysis show individuals receiving a booster dose of Covaxin have a significant immune response to both the Omicron and Delta variants. These findings suggest that a booster dose has the potential to reduce disease severity and hospitalizations.”

A World Health Organization (WHO) technical advisory group recently concluded that modified versions of COVID-19 vaccines would likely be necessary in the long run.