According to the study by health authorities in England, which was conducted between April 5 and May 16, the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine was 88% effective against symptomatic Indian variant disease two weeks after the second dose, compared to 93% effectiveness against the English variant.

Over the same period, AstraZeneca’s serum was 60% effective, compared to 66% against the English variant which had been detected in Kent.

Thrust of the Indian variant

Health Minister Matt Hancock praised the results, which he described as “innovative“, at a time when the government is counting on its vaccination campaign to protect itself from an outbreak of the Indian variant which endangers the continuation of its deconfinement plan.

Read also: The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines effective against the Indian variant

To stop the propagation of this variant B.1.617.2, which risks becoming “dominant“according to health authorities, the interval between the two doses of vaccine (up to three months) has been reduced to eight weeks for people over 50 and the most vulnerable, and screening has been stepped up in areas affected (especially North West England and parts of London).

Genome sequencing

The two vaccines studied are 33% effective against the symptomatic disease caused by the Indian variant three weeks after the injection of the first dose, against about 50% against the Kent variant, according to Public Health England (PHE).

The coronavirus genome was sequenced for 12,675 cases included in this study, of which 1,054 were Indian variant cases.

High protection

According to PHE data, at least 2,889 cases of the Indian variant were recorded in England between February 1 and May 18. Of these, 104 cases led to an emergency room visit, 31 required hospitalization and six resulted in death.

Two doses of either vaccine provide high levels of protection against symptomatic disease of variant B.1.617.2“said Mary Ramsay, immunization manager at PHE.”We expect vaccines to be even more effective in preventing hospitalizations and death“, she added.

In the United Kingdom, the country most bereaved in Europe by the virus with more than 127,000 deaths, more than 7 in 10 adults have received a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and more than 4 in 10 have received two doses.