CovIran Plus elicits protective neutralization against Omicron: study

February 16, 2022 - 18:30

TEHRAN – Results of a study conducted by Iranian scientists show that the domestically-developed SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate, BIV1-CovIran Plus, produces neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron variant.

An abstract of the research titled “Omicron-Based Vaccine Candidate Elicits Potent Neutralizing Antibodies in the Animal Model” published in BioRxiv, indicates that a full human dose of BIV1-CovIran Plus was injected intraperitoneally to five female mice and two Guinea pigs for abnormal toxicity reactions evaluation and pathologic investigations. 

“For potency evaluation, four groups of ten mice received two doses of BIV1-CovIran Plus or phosphate-buffered-saline at 7-day and 14-day intervals. The conventional virus-neutralizing test was conducted on sera acquired from vaccinated mice groups seven days after the second injection. There was no evidence of abnormal clinical symptoms macroscopic or microscopic tissue alterations among the animal models.”

“In all samples from the study group that received two doses of BIV1-CovIran Plus at a 7-day interval, the sera at ≥1/32 times dilution would neutralize the Omicron variant SARS-CoV-2. 

Similarly, the sera of all samples from the study group, which received two doses of BIV1-CovIran Plus at a 14-day interval, at ≥1/64 times dilution, would neutralize the Omicron variant SARS-CoV-2. 

Moreover, six out of ten (60%) of the samples in this group would neutralize the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 at 1/128 times dilution. CPE formation was observed in all samples from the control group, and no neutralizing activity was detected at any sera dilutions. 

BIV1-CovIran Plus was well-tolerated in the animal models, and no safety concerns were raised. Moreover, the vaccine candidate elicited protective neutralization against the Omicron variant. 

The B.1.1.529 (Omicron) variant of SARS-CoV-2 with multiple novel mutations has reduced the neutralization potential of vaccinated individuals' sera. World Health Organization has suggested that a vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses is unlikely to be sustainable.

Global registration

The process for global registration of the “COVIRAN Barkat” vaccine for coronavirus started on January 27 by holding a virtual meeting with the World Health Organization officials.

COVIRAN is the first vaccine in West Asia that is in the process of global registration, IRIB reported.

Made by researchers at the Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam, COVIRAN Barkat was unveiled on December 29, 2020, and received the license for public use on June 14, 2021.

After presenting and approving the scientific documentation of the COVIRAN vaccine; the first official meeting with the World Health Organization was held online on January 27.

More than 10 Iranian experts prepared the necessary scientific documents within the framework of international law. The submission of these documents for the global registration of the vaccine took place in a process of several months.

Global vaccine registration is a complex process, and COVIRAN is the first vaccine in the West Asian region that is in the process of global registration, which will be ready for export and inclusion in the COVAX facility.

Iran is the sixth country in the world and the first country in West Asia to gain the ability to produce the Coronavirus vaccine.

More effective

According to a new study, the effectiveness of the COVIRAN Barkat vaccine in fighting the coronavirus has been more than foreign rivals, namely Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, and Sputnik.

The study was performed on 1.8 million people in Fars province from the beginning of the vaccination process till October 2021, which considered four vaccines of Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, COVIRAN, and Sputnik, Younes Panahi, the deputy minister of health for research and technology, has said.

COVIRAN vaccine was 87 percent effective in protecting against coronavirus infection and 86 percent effective against Covid-related hospitalization, compared with 84 percent and 82 percent, respectively for AstraZeneca; Sinopharm came in third with 80 percent and 72 percent, respectively.


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