White House Chief Medical Adviser and America’s top pandemic expert Dr Anthony Fauci has said that India’s home-grown coronavirus vaccine, Covaxin was effective against the Indian variant of the deadly virus.

“This is something where we’re still gaining data on a daily basis. But the most recent data, was looking at convalescent Sera of COVID-19 cases and people who received the vaccine used in India, the Covaxin. It was found to neutralise the 617 variant,” said Fauci while speaking to reporters during a conference call in Washington on Tuesday.

“So, despite the real difficulty that we’re seeing in India, vaccination could be a very, very important antidote against this,” Fauci added.

Developed by Bharat Biotech in partnership with National Institute of Virology (NIV) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Covaxin was approved for emergency use on January 3. Trial results later showed the vaccine has an efficacy of 78 per cent.

The B.1.617 variant was first detected in Maharashtra in October last year. It was initially thought to comprise two mutations – E484Q and L452R – and hence, referred to as a “double mutant” variant.

The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that this variant has been found in at least 17 other countries.

The third phase of vaccination in India, where all above 18 years are eligible, will begin on May 1. The country has been reporting over 3 lakh cases daily for the past week.