Government in talks with AstraZeneca for a new jab to tackle the beta variant – what we know so far Bedford News

Ministers have started negotiations with AstraZeneca to secure a Covid coup capable of tackling the beta variant first found in South Africa, Matt Hancock said.

According to a study published in March, two doses of the current AstraZeneca vaccine were only 10.4% effective against mild to moderate infections caused by the B.1.351 strain.

The worrisome variant shares similar mutations with other strains, raising concerns that people receiving a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine could be exposed to a number of variants.

However, two doses of the vaccine were found to be 60% effective against the Delta variant first identified in India and the company has not confirmed whether it will change its vaccine to this strain.

AstraZeneca said any new version of its jab would first have to be approved for use by the UK drugs regulator.

New vaccines needed to “keep the country safe”

The Health Secretary, in a speech at the University of Oxford where the jab was developed, said: “There is still work to be done, the work is not done yet – we are continuing to source all the time and plan what we need to keep this country safe, including new vaccines specifically targeted at the variants of concern.

“I can tell you today that we have entered into commercial negotiations with AstraZeneca to obtain a variant vaccine – future supplies of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine which have been adapted to control the B.1.351 variant first identified in Africa. from South.

“Once again, we are leading the way and supporting projects with potential, so that we can keep our immunization program one step ahead of the virus and protect the progress we have all made. “

AstraZeneca said “more details” on the negotiations would be shared in due course.

The beta variant sparked widespread concern across the UK after non-travel clusters first emerged in the UK in January.

The discovery of the strain prompted surge testing and better contact tracing across the country.

As of May 19, more than 900 cases of the variant had been reported in the UK, an increase of 41 from the previous week, according to data from Public Health England.

Pfizer previously said there was no evidence that its vaccine, which is another of the main vaccines given in the UK, needs updating to current variants.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-03 07:52:23

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