Oxford and AstraZeneca begin testing beta variant vaccine

The University of Oxford announced on Sunday that it had started injecting volunteers with a vaccine developed with AstraZeneca against the beta (“South African”) variant of the coronavirus, in clinical trials to measure its effectiveness.

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She said in a statement that around 2,250 participants would be recruited in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil and Poland as part of phases II and III of these clinical trials in humans.

The vaccine candidate uses the same so-called “viral vector” (adenovirus) technology as that currently deployed against COVID-19 worldwide.

“Testing booster doses of existing vaccines and vaccines against new variants is important to ensure that we are as well prepared as possible to stay ahead of the coronavirus pandemic, should their use prove necessary”, commented Professor Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group.

Provisional data from these clinical trials are expected later this year and will be submitted to regulators for assessment under a fast-track process, the statement said.

In May, the British government began clinical trials, billed as the first in the world, of the immune response elicited by a third dose of COVID vaccine for a recall campaign in the United Kingdom, where the there is an outbreak of contaminations due to the Delta (“Indian”) variant.

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