AstraZeneca and Oxford University began new trials on Sunday to test a modified vaccine against the beta variant, which first emerged in South Africa.
The “booster” vaccine trial will involve about 2,250 participants from Britain, South Africa, Brazil and Poland.
They include people who have been completely vaccinated with two doses of the original Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine or an mRNA vaccine like Pfizer, as well as those who have not received any stings.
The new vaccine, known as AZD2816, has been designed using the same base as the main feature of AstraZeneca, but with small genetic alterations to the spike protein based on the Beta variant.
“It’s important to test booster doses of existing vaccines and new vaccine variants to make sure we’re better prepared to stay ahead of pandemic coronavirus, should its use be necessary,” said Andrew Pollard, a researcher at head and director of the Oxford vaccine group at Oxford University.
Britain has been successful vaccine deploys the program, but experts do not know how long the protection lasts.
“This study will provide vital evidence on whether additional doses may be needed, including‘ modifications ’against new virus variants in the future,” said Maheshi Ramasamy, principal investigator of the Oxford vaccine group.
The initial trial data is expected by the end of this year.
Current vaccines are believed to be less effective against the beta variant, although it is the Delta variant, which has emerged in India, that is of most concern today.
Although major vaccines are believed to be very effective in preventing serious disease, the transmissible nature of the Delta variant is causing an increase in some cases, including in Britain.
© 2021 AFP
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