Head of AstraZeneca says researchers believe the drugmaker’s coronavirus vaccine will be effective against a new variant of COVID-19 that is causing a rapid surge in infections in the UK

Managing Director Pascal Soriot has also told the developers of the Sunday Times that they have found a “formula for success” that will make the shot as effective as the competition candidates

Some have raised concerns that the jab being developed with Oxford University, which is expected to get approval in the UK this week, may not be as good as the one Pfizer is already selling in the UK and elsewhere

Partial results suggest that the shot is about 70 percent effective in preventing disease from coronavirus infection, compared to the 95 percent effectiveness reported by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech

“We think we figured out the formula for success and figured out how to get the effectiveness that everyone else has after two doses,” said Soriot

The UK government says its drug agency is reviewing the final data from AstraZeneca’s Phase 3 clinical trials

The Times and others have reported that the green light could come by Thursday and vaccines can be rolled out to the UK public in the first week of January

When asked about the effectiveness of the vaccine against the new virus variant in the UK, Soriot said, “So far we have thought the vaccine should remain effective but we cannot be sure, so we will test it”

The UK authorities have blamed the variant for rising infection rates across the country, saying it is much more communicable but there is no evidence that people are getting sick

Prime Minister Boris Johnson urgently alerted the variant before Christmas, saying it had spread rapidly and plans for travel and gatherings would have to be canceled so millions can stem its spread

The authorities have since placed the most stringent restrictions on more and more areas of the country – affecting around 24 million people, or 43 percent of the population

Non-essential businesses are closed, restaurants and pubs are for take-out only, and indoor socializing is not permitted

Many countries were quick to ban travel from the UK, but cases of variants have also been reported in a dozen locations around the world since then

Health officials said on Jan. December, more than 600000 people received the first of two doses of the Pfizer vaccine

The UK added another 30 on Sunday501 positive COVID-19 cases and an additional 316 deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 70752 increased

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World News – AU – AstraZeneca is confident of thwarting the variant

Source: https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7069088/astrazeneca-confident-of-thwarting-variant/?cs=14232