Oxford and AstraZeneca kick off work on a version of the vaccine targeting Omicron

The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca have begun work to produce a version of the coronavirus vaccine that targets Omicron, joining the ranks of their colleagues who are studying the potential to adapt their vaccination formulations. them in case it is necessary to resolve variation.

When asked about Omicron, Sandy Douglas, research lead at Oxford, told the Financial Times: “Like many of the variants of interest before, and together with our AstraZeneca partners, we have taken preliminary steps. in the production of an updated vaccine in case of need. ”

He said: “Vaccines based on Adenovirus [such as that made by Oxford/AstraZeneca] could in principle be used to respond to any new variation faster than some of the previous variants might have realized. [They have] the advantages really matter, especially where the logistical needs and challenges are greatest”.

AstraZeneca did not comment.

A study published in the medical journal The Lancet on Monday shows The protection provided by two doses of AstraZeneca vaccine begins to wane three months after full immunization, including against severe disease.

Other emerging evidence suggests that a two-shot widely used vaccine would produce a smaller amount of antibodies against Omicron than previous variants, and a third mRNA injection could increase that level. While it’s still not entirely clear what this means in terms of effectiveness, global health authorities have expressed concern that current injections may be less protective against Omicron.

All in all, scientists hope the two doses will still go on against the serious illness caused by Omicron, although Monday’s study further highlighted the need for AstraZeneca vaccine recipients to get its name. propellant fire.

The injection of AstraZeneca was rolled out widely earlier this year in the UK and EU before countries restricted its use following a rare side effect related to blood clots. Through their partnership, which includes Serum Institute of India, Oxford and AstraZeneca distributed more than 2 billion doses globally – the majority of them are in poorer countries.

Oxford has been conducting studies of the vaccine targeting Beta after studies earlier this year showed it to be minimally effective for milder disease caused by that strain. Results for studies on that drug candidate, called AZD2816, have yet to be published.

Global health authorities, such as Emer Cooke, head of the European Medicines Agency, have warned that it will take time to reach a global scientific consensus on whether targeted injections are needed. Omicron target or not.

Important considerations, such as what the circulating virus might be when regulators are ready to approve any of the different vaccines, will play an important role in making that decision, The Financial Times reported on Monday. Cooke added that AstraZeneca has yet to officially apply for an EU-wide extension.

The UK and the European Union are mostly using mRNA imaging in their enhancement campaigns.

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