COVID-19 Variants in India and the Current Vaccines for Them


Viruses can mutate and develop. When a virus copies itself, it can change in the process. A variant is a modified virus. Most changes to viruses are small, but some changes make viruses more dangerous which makes the vaccines less effective. Delta and Kappa are the names for COVID-19 variations from the Greek alphabet. B.1.617.1 is COVID Kappa, while B.1.617.2 is COVID Delta. India is where both of these variants originated. The AY.1 strain, a European Delta plus type, has also been found in India. This version sticks to lung cells easily. This article will explain the COVID-19 variants in India and how well their vaccines work.

COVID-19 Variants in India

The virus was first found in China and since then, it has evolved into several variants. In India, there are different kinds of Coronavirus variants. The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) has 10 labs all over the country. It is responsible for sequencing and keeping track of these different types. The Delta variant, first found in the UK, is thought to be the most common in India. A report from INSACOG says that the Delta variant is now the most common strain in India. It makes up more than 75% of all COVID-19 cases in the country. Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Kappa are the other virus types. It is thought that each of these variants is more contagious than the original virus, but their severity is still being studied. 

COVID-19 Variants As Per WHO 

Alpha B.1.1.7 
Beta B.1.351 B.1.351.2 B.1.351.3 
Gamma P.1 P.1.1 P.1.2 
Delta B.1.617.2 AY.1 AY.2 AY.3 
Eta B.1.525 
Kappa B.1.617.1 
Iota B.1.526 
Lamda C.37 

Overview of the Delta Variant

The B.1.617.2 variant, the Delta variant, is thought to be related to the second pandemic wave, which hit India in the middle of 2021. The Delta variant is 50% more likely to spread than the original virus and it is also thought to affect younger people more than those who are older.

Impact of COVID-19 Variants in India

India suffered greatly due to COVID-19. Of the COVID-19 variants Delta caused the second pandemic wave, which led to a huge rise in the number of cases and deaths. It has also spread quickly in rural areas, where health care is not as well developed and accessible as in urban areas. The Government of India adopted certain measures to stop the virus from spreading such as lockdowns, curfews, travel restrictions and more.

Vaccines For COVID-19 Variants in India

In India, there are four different kinds of vaccines:


Whole virus vaccines employ a weak type of virus that can still replicate. Another way is to use a virus in which all of the genetic material has been destroyed but still makes the immune system react. One vaccine that fits into this group is Covaxin.

Covishield and Sputnik V

A vaccine with a viral vector also tells cells how to make antigens. But unlike the nucleic acid vaccine, this one uses a harmless virus like adenovirus to get the immune system to react. In India, two of these vaccines are Covishield and Sputnik V.


Viral protein fragments trigger an immunological response in a protein subunit vaccination. This is where the new Corbevax vaccine fits in. It was available in September 2021.


The nucleic acid vaccine instructs cells to manufacture an antigen, which stimulates an immune response. This is the case with the Moderna vaccine.

In terms of how well they work, a study found that the Covishield vaccine from AstraZeneca is effective against the Indian variant, Delta B.1.617.2. This vaccination was 60% effective in two doses against the Delta type. 

Researchers have also found that Covaxin is 61% efficient against the same variant. Trials indicated Sputnik V to be 78.6% to 83.7% efficient, while the Delta variant’s drop in efficacy is insignificant. 

Current Vaccination Strategies for COVID-19 Variants

The Government of India has been using different vaccination strategies to fight COVID-19 and its many variants: 

  • The first step is to ensure that people get their vaccines. All those above 18 who live in the country can get free vaccines. 
  • The Government has also advised people who have already had the virus to get vaccinated. This protects them from other variants and ensures that they do not face the severity of COVID-19 again.
  • The Government has set up a tiered vaccination system for high-risk groups like healthcare workers and the elderly. This ensures that those who need protection the most get it first.
State/UTTotal Doses
Andaman And Nicobar9,91,0051
Andhra Pradesh11,05,41,231570
Arunachal Pradesh19,04,914855
Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu15,78,2972
Himachal Pradesh1,52,40,8361,896
Jammu and Kashmir2,47,24,773547
Madhya Pradesh13,35,59,4241,425
Tamil Nadu12,73,69,3221,846
Uttar Pradesh39,04,84,8984,145
West Bengal15,59,30,572869

How To Stay Safe From COVID-19 Variants

To stay safe from COVID-19 variants, it is important to adopt certain measures. The first and most important step is to get vaccinated. It is also important to follow basic safety rules, like wearing a face mask, keeping your distance from other people, and staying away from large groups of people. People should also be extra careful when they travel, especially to places where variants are more common. 


Ultimately, COVID-19 variants have caused a lot of trouble. The Government of India has invested money into making more effective vaccines to fight the variants. But to stay safe from the variants, taking certain steps is vital. People are encouraged to continue following safety protocols to stop the spread of the virus and this includes getting the vaccine. For more information on COVID-19 variants and the vaccines to treat them, visit Piramal Finance to read more helpful articles like this one.