Business Essentials for Professionals


AstraZeneca, Oxford To Start Working On Covid-19 Vaccine Targeting Omicron Variant

AstraZeneca, Oxford To Start Working On Covid-19 Vaccine Targeting Omicron Variant
Oxford University and AstraZeneca have begun development of a coronavirus vaccine that targets the Omicron strain.
The reports come after 129 people were hospitalised and 14 people died as a result of the strain in the 24 hours leading up to 6 p.m. on Monday.
Officials revealed on Tuesday that a total of 45,145 variant cases had been discovered in the United Kingdom, but the true number is estimated to be much higher.
Sandy Douglas, a leader of an Oxford research group, said they had taken "preliminary steps towards generating an updated vaccination in case it is needed" alongside AstraZeneca, much as they had with prior versions of concern.
A two-shot course of commonly used vaccines is thought to produce fewer antibodies against Omicron than prior types.
“Adenovirus-based vaccines [such as that made by Oxford/AstraZeneca] could in principle be used to respond to any new variant more rapidly than some may previously have realised," he told the Financial Times.
"[They have] really important advantages, especially where need and logistical challenges are greatest.”
There was no comment from AstraZeneca on the development.
According to a research published earlier this week in The Lancet medical journal, protection provided by two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine began to fade three months after full immunisation, including protection against severe sickness.
Evidence from other sources suggests that a two-shot course of commonly used vaccines produces fewer antibodies against Omicron than for prior variations.
According to research, a third mRNA infusion can boost that level.
Though it is unclear what this means in terms of effectiveness, global health authorities are concerned about the unknown, fearing that current vaccines would provide insufficient protection against the new strain.
The AstraZeneca was widely used in the UK and the EU earlier this year, but governments banned its usage after the discovery of a rare adverse effect involving blood clots.
Oxford and AstraZeneca's collaboration has resulted in the delivery of more than 2 billion doses around the world, the bulk of which have been to poorer countries.
After investigations indicated it had modest efficacy against milder sickness caused by that strain, Oxford undertook studies on a Beta-targeted vaccination earlier this year.
Global health authorities, such as European Medicines Agency Director Emer Cooke, have warned that it is currently unknown if a vaccination for the recently discovered strain would be required, and that it may stay thus for some years.
"Together with Oxford University, we have taken preliminary steps in producing an Omicron variant vaccine, in case it is needed and will be informed by emerging data," a spokesperson for the company said in a statement.
There was no response from Oxford about the development.

Christopher J. Mitchell

Markets | Companies | M&A | Innovation | People | Management | Lifestyle | World | Misc