EU regulator ‘confident’ vaccines work against Indian coronavirus variant

The EMA also expects the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson jabs to be effective

EU regulator ‘confident’ vaccines work against Indian coronavirus variant

The European Medicines Agency is “pretty confident” that vaccines approved for use in the EU are effective against the Indian variant, it said on Wednesday.

Speaking during a press briefing, Marco Cavaleri, the EMA’s head of vaccines strategy, said the data seems “rather reassuring” that the mRNA vaccines from BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna are effective, “at least to an extent that will guarantee sufficient protection.”

The EMA expects the two other approved vaccines in the EU, both viral vector vaccines — from Oxford/AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson — would also be effective, he added.

The agency is gathering more evidence from India where the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is in use, he said, adding: “So far, overall, we are pretty confident that the vaccines, generally will be covering this barrier.”

Three types of the Indian variant have been identified in the U.K., one of which was classified last week as a variant of concern: B.1.617.2. Public Health England said Friday it was at least as transmissible as the so-called U.K. variant, B.1.1.7.

India currently has 3.7 million active cases of coronavirus, according to its health ministry. In the last 24 hours, the country reported 4,205 new deaths.