New Delhi: The British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca along with the University of Oxford on Sunday (June 27, 2021) started new trials to assess a modified vaccine against the Beta variant of COVID-19, which first emerged in South Africa. According to AFP reports, the booster COVID-19 vaccine trials will be conducted upon 2,250 individuals from Britain, South Africa, Brazil and Poland.
These 2,250 participants are those who have been fully vaccinated with two doses of the original Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine or an mRNA vaccine such as Pfizer.
This new booster COVID-19 vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca, is known as AZD2816. According to the report, this new booster COVID-19 vaccine has also been designed using the same base as the main AstraZeneca shot but with minor genetic alterations
“Testing booster doses of existing vaccines and new variant vaccines is important to ensure we are best prepared to stay ahead of the pandemic coronavirus, should their use be needed,” Andrew Pollard, chief investigator and director of the Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford was quoted as saying in the report.
The experts in Britain stated that even though the country has had a successful vaccine rollout programme, it remains unknown to the experts as if how long protection lasts in an individual body.
“This study will provide vital evidence on whether further doses including ‘tweaks’ against new virus variants may be needed in the future,” said Maheshi Ramasamy, Principal Investigator at the Oxford Vaccine Group. Meanwhile, Initial data from the trial is expected later this year.
According to the report, the current vaccines available against COVID-19 are believed to be less effective against the Beta variant.