AstraZeneca, Oxford Expects ‘Next Generation’ Covid-19 Vaccine To Tackle Variants By Autumn

Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said, the partners are getting close to having data on the efficacy of their Covid-19 vaccine on older adults

On Wednesday, a senior executive at the British drugmaker said,  AstraZeneca and Oxford University aims to produce the next generation of Covid-19 vaccines that will protect against variants as soon as the autumn.

Asked when AstraZeneca could produce a next-generation vaccine to tackle new variants, AstraZeneca research chief Mene Pangalos said “as rapidly as possible”.

He said in a briefing with media, “We’re working very hard and we’re already talking about not just the variants that we have to make in laboratories, but also the clinical studies that we need to run.”

“We’re very much aiming to try and have something ready by the autumn, so this year.”

Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said, the partners are getting close to having data on the efficacy of their Covid-19 vaccine on older adults.

Earlier today AstraZeneca also said the vaccine is 76% effective for 90 days after single dose

The pharmaceutical company on Wednesday said that the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine showed 76 per cent efficacy against symptomatic infection for three months after a single dose, with protection maintained to the second dose.

According to a primary analysis of the Phase 3 clinical trials published in The Lancet, with an inter-dose gap of 12 weeks or more, vaccine efficacy increased to 82 per cent.

Co-author Andrew Pollard, Chief Investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial, said in a statement  that, “These new data provide an important verification of the interim data that has helped regulators such as the MHRA in the UK and elsewhere around the world to grant the vaccine emergency use authorisation.”

“It also helps to support the policy recommendation made by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation for a 12-week prime-boost interval, as they look for the optimal approach to roll out, and reassures us that people are protected 22 days after a single dose of the vaccine,” Pollard added.

The potential for the vaccine to reduce asymptomatic transmission of the virus, based on weekly swabs obtained from volunteers in the UK trial according to the reports showed in the analysis.

Supporting a substantial impact on transmission of the virus, the data showed that PCR positive readings were reduced by 67 per cent after a single dose, and 50 per cent after the two dose schedule.

The primary analysis for efficacy was based on the data of 17,177 participants accumulating 332 symptomatic cases from the Phase 3 in UK, Brazil and South Africa trials led by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, a further 201 cases than previously reported.

The analysis also showed that the vaccine is effective and safe at averting Covid-19, with no severe cases and no hospitalization, more than 22 days after the first dose.

The company said, AstraZeneca continues to engage with governments, international organisations and collaborators around the world to ensure broad and equitable access to the vaccine at no profit for the duration of the pandemic.

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