AstraZeneca announced on Friday that it was looking into the effect of the coronavirus strain that was first identified recently in South Africa, and one that is rapidly spreading across the country, on its vaccine and its antibody mix and was optimistic its combination drug would maintain effectiveness.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has on Friday identified a brand newly discovered Covid-19 mutation, named B.1.1.529 and found on the continent of South Africa with a large number of mutations, as being a variant “of concern”.
AstraZeneca has given out 2 billion doses its vaccine throughout the world. However the vaccination program was suspended within South Africa in February after it was found to provide little protection against mild to moderate disease that is caused by Beta variant that was prevalent in South Africa at that time.
“As with any new emerging variants, we are looking into B.1.1.529 to understand more about it and the impact on the vaccine,” AstraZeneca said in a statement, adding it was conducting research in Botswana and Eswatini to collect data.
“That will enable us to collect real world data of Vaxzevria against this new virus variant.”
The pharmaceutical company Anglo-Swedish highlighted it was demonstrated to be efficient against all variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus of concern.
AstraZeneca stated that it has developed a platform for vaccines to rapidly respond to the latest variants, in conjunction with Oxford University, where the vaccine was developed. It previously announced that it was working on a different vaccine to better concentrate on beta variants.
The company also has developed an anti-inflammatory cocktail that can be used for prevention and treatment of Covid-19.
While some scientists have expressed their concern that spike protein mutations could affect the efficiency of monoclonal antibody drugs The combination drug developed by AstraZeneca may not be able to stop its effectiveness AstraZeneca said.
“We are also testing our long-acting antibody combination AZD7442 against this new variant and are hopeful AZD7442 will retain efficacy since it comprises two potent antibodies with different and complementary activities against the virus,” it said.
(Adapted from Nasdaq.com)