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How well do antibodies work against the Delta variant? Here’s what experts say

A recently published study found that the Delta variant is eight times less sensitive to antibodies generated from Covid vaccines

With rising cases of the Delta and Delta plus variant, categorised as ‘variant of concern’, experts are trying to determine how well antibodies work against it. We spoke to doctors to find out what they have found so far.

Can antibodies in recovered Covid patients protect against Delta variant?

Dr Vikas Maurya, director and HOD, Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh, says, “Patients who have recovered from Covid of the Delta variant will definitely have antibodies against it. Those who have been infected by a different variant will also have antibodies but we do not know if they will be able to protect the person from the Delta variant.”

“However, we have seen that those who were infected last year have not come down with infection from the Delta variant this year. Either because they have taken extra precautions or because they have sufficient antibodies to take care of the delta variant,” he adds.

Monoclonal antibodies (proteins that mimic the ability of the immune system to fight off harmful pathogens), on the other hand, took care of the variants last year as well as this year, which is the Delta variant, adds Dr Maurya. “But it is yet to be determined if they will work against the Delta plus variant.”

Can Covid vaccines help?

A recently published study found that the Delta variant is eight times less sensitive to antibodies generated from Covid vaccines. The study was conducted by several Indian scientists and those from the Cambridge Institute of Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease.

Dr Trupti Gilada, consultant physician in infectious diseases, Masina Hospital, however, says that the antibodies do act against the delta variant, whether created either after natural infection or due to vaccination. “It has been seen that both vaccines available in India have good protection against the delta variant. While the protection from symptomatic infection is around 70 per cent, protection from severe infections hospitalisation and death are over 95 per cent.”

“What people need to keep in mind regarding the delta variant is that both masks and vaccinations are excellent tools for protection against it. If the majority of the population gets vaccinated at the earliest and if masking is followed religiously, a third wave can certainly be averted,” she adds.

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