Omicron variant: AstraZeneca explores impact on vaccines, antibody cocktails – National

On Friday, AstraZeneca said it was examining the impact of a rapidly spreading new coronavirus variant in South Africa on the vaccine and its antibody mix, adding it hoped the combination drug Its will keep effective.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday designated a new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, detected in South Africa with a large number of mutations, as “worrisome”.

AstraZeneca has distributed 2 billion doses of its vaccine worldwide, although the vaccine’s rollout was halted in South Africa in February after it was shown to provide minimal protection. against mild to moderate disease caused by the Beta variant, which was dominant in the country at the time.

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“As with any emerging variant, we are reviewing B.1.1.529 to understand more about it and its impact on vaccines,” AstraZeneca said in a statement. , adding that they are conducting research in Botswana and Eswatini to collect data.

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“That will allow us to collect real-world data of Vaxzevria against this new virus variant.”

The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company stressed that the vaccine has been shown to be effective against all the SARS-CoV-2 variants of interest.

AstraZeneca says it has developed a vaccine platform to respond quickly to new variants with the University of Oxford, where the vaccine was created. Previously, they said they were working on a variant vaccine to better target the Beta variant.

The company has also developed an antibody cocktail that can be used to prevent and treat COVID-19.

Click to play video: ''Omicron'' COVID-19 variant triggers new travel ban'

COVID-19 ‘Omicron’ variant triggers new travel ban

COVID-19 ‘Omicron’ variant triggers new travel ban

Although some scientists have expressed concern that mutated protein mutations could interfere with the effectiveness of monoclonal antibody drugs, the combination drug manufactured by AstraZeneca may retain its effectiveness. , the company said.

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“We are also testing the long-acting antibody combination AZD7442 against this new variant and hope AZD7442 will retain its effectiveness as it consists of two potent antibodies with different and complementary activities against virus,” it said.

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