Friday , February 26 2021

Oxford scientists preparing versions of COVID-19 vaccines to combat emerging variants: Report

LONDON: Oxford scientists are preparing to quickly produce new versions of their vaccine to combat the most contagious emerging variants of COVID-19 discovered in the UK, South Africa and Brazil, The Telegraph reported on Wednesday (January 20th) .

The team behind the Oxford vaccine and AstraZeneca is conducting feasibility studies to reconfigure the technology, the newspaper said, citing confirmation from Oxford University.

The scientists were working on estimating how quickly they could reconfigure their ChAdOx vaccine platform, according to the report.

AstraZeneca postponed to Oxford for comment. An Oxford spokesman said the university is carefully evaluating the impact of the new variants on vaccine immunity and evaluating the processes needed for the rapid development of adjusted COVID-19 vaccines, if needed.

READ: New variants of COVID-19: Do virus strains in the UK and South Africa pose a danger to Singapore?

READ: Previous COVID-19 infection may offer less protection against the new South African variant

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that the country’s drug regulator will be ready and able to approve new versions of COVID-19 vaccines designed to counteract new variants of the coronavirus that may appear.

Recent laboratory tests have indicated that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech is likely to work against the UK variant that is spreading around the world.

BioNTech has said it plans to publish a more detailed analysis of the possible effect of its vaccine on the South African variant in a few days.

AstraZeneca, Moderna and CureVac are also testing whether their respective features will protect against fast-spreading variants.

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