Covid-19: India's Bharat Biotech studying if Covaxin shot will work on Omicron

BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson also to start work on variant vaccine

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Photo: File
Photo: File

Published: Tue 30 Nov 2021, 2:51 PM

India’s Bharat Biotech said on Tuesday it was studying if its Covaxin shot would work against variants of coronavirus such as Omicron, after the CEO of drugmaker Moderna warned that existing vaccines would be less effective.

“Covaxin was developed against the original Wuhan variant,” a Bharat Biotech spokesperson told Reuters in a text message, referring to the Chinese city where the virus first emerged.

“It has shown that it can work against other variants, including the Delta variant. We continue to research on new variants.”


BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are working on Covid-19 vaccines that specifically target Omicron in case their existing shots are not effective against the new coronavirus variant, the companies said on Monday (Nov 29).BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson start work on Omicron shots

The variant's emergence has triggered a strong global response as countries worried that it could spread fast even in vaccinated populations impose travel curbs and other restrictions.

BioNTech said it had started work on a vaccine tailored to Omicron, along with partner Pfizer.

Meanwhile, Moderna said it could take months to begin shipping such a vaccine, chief executive officer Stéphane Bancel told CNBC.

Bancel said the effectiveness of existing Covid-19 vaccines against the variant was currently not known, adding there should be more clarity in about two weeks.

Johnson & Johnson is also evaluating the effectiveness of its Covid-19 vaccine against Omicron, while also pursuing a vaccine specific to the variant.

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