The head of drug maker AstraZeneca, which is developing a coronavirus vaccine that is widely expected to be approved by UK authorities this week, researchers believe the shot will be effective against a new variant of the virus which is causing a rapid surge in infections in the UK

Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, also told the UK Sunday Times that researchers developing their vaccine have found a “formula for success” that will make the push as effective as competing candidates

Some have raised concerns that the AstraZeneca vaccine being developed with Oxford University may not be as good as Pfizer’s, which is already being sold in the UK and other countries

Partial results suggest that the AstraZeneca shot is about 70 percent effective in preventing diseases from coronavirus infections, compared to the 95 percent effectiveness reported by Pfizer and its 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. “That’s all I can tell you as we will publish at some point”

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 variant of the spread of coronavirus in the UK, Soriot said: “So far we think the vaccine should remain effective but we can’t be sure, so we will test this”

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

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urgently alerted the variant days before Christmas, saying the new version of the virus had spread rapidly and plans to travel and collect would have to be canceled for millions to contain the spread of the virus

The authorities have since placed stringent restrictions on more and more areas of the country – affecting around 24 million people, or 43 percent of the population – non-essential shops have closed, restaurants and pubs can only be opened for take-away, and it isn’t Socializing indoors is allowed

Many countries quickly banned entry from the UK, but since then cases of the new variant have also been reported in a dozen locations around the world

Public health officials said Jan. December that more than 600000 people would have 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

Many hospitals are under pressure, including the largest hospital in Wales, which on Saturday made an urgent call to health workers or medical students to help care for coronavirus patients in the intensive care unit

The University Hospital of Wales Health Department said Sunday that the situation had improved but the intensive care unit was still very busy

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Source: https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/astrazeneca-says-its-vaccine-will-work-against-covid-19-variant-20201228-p56qdi.html