London, 7 February 2021 (dpa/MIA) – AstraZeneca‘s vaccine against the novel coronavirus seems to have only a limited effect on a variation of the disease that originated in South Africa, according to a report in The Financial Times, which received an early look at the research.
The results, which are set to be released on Monday, show that the vaccine can be useful against extreme cases linked to the B.1.351 variant, but it did little to stop transmission in weaker cases.
But researchers at Oxford University, which helped develop the vaccine, and the University of the Witwatersrand also noticed that the study only included 2,000 relatively young and healthy trial subjects, meaning data could be skewed.
“We do believe our vaccine could protect against severe disease, as neutralizing antibody activity is equivalent to that of other Covid-19 vaccines that have demonstrated activity against more severe disease, particularly when the dosing interval is optimised to eight to 12 weeks,” an AstraZeneca spokesperson said in the report.
AstraZeneca and Oxford are looking for ways to update their vaccine so it can work against the new mutations that have emerged, many of which seem to spread more easily and may be more deadly.
Its vaccine does seem to be effective against another variant, the one discovered in Britain.
Studies have shown that the South African strain seems to show heightened resistance to vaccines.