AstraZeneca Says Its Vaccine Likely Works Against New Variant
AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot announced on Sunday that the firm's vaccine will likely be effective against the new more contagious strain that has shown up in the UK, reported TIME.
A winning formula
“We think we have figured out the winning formula and how to get efficacy that, after two doses, is up there with everybody else,” Soriot told TIME. “I can’t tell you more because we will publish at some point.”
Soriot was referring to the fact that some concerns have risen that the AstraZeneca vaccine is not as effective as the Pfizer one as it is reported to be only 70% effective whereas Pfizer's is 95% effective.
When asked about the vaccine’s efficacy against the newly discovered strain, Soriot said: “So far, we think the vaccine should remain effective. But we can’t be sure, so we’re going to test that.”
The new variant is said to be much more contagious although it does not make people more ill. It has however scared entire nations with the Netherlands and others banning flights from the UK and even South Africa.
The Dutch public health body RIVM said that it “recommends any introduction of this virus strain from the UK be limited as much as possible by limiting and/or controlling passenger movements.”
Days before Christmas, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed that the newly discovered strain is up to 70% more infectious, according to DW, and announced that Christmas would be a lot more limited in the country than originally planned.
"It is with a very heavy heart that I must tell you we cannot continue with Christmas as planned," the prime minister said during a press conference.
Johnson further stated that London and southeast England would now be placed in a new Tier 4 level lockdown with much more severe restrictions than previously applied.
In a first-of-its-kind study, a group of researchers from the Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences in India have come up with a new machine learning-based AI tool that could help doctors to distinguish between tropical diseases.