The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offers only limited protection against mild disease caused by the South African variant of coronavirus, but does still protect against severe cases, according to research.
The study, first reported by the Financial Times, also further backs the dosing schedule of eight to 12 weeks that was adopted by the UK.
The research due to be published on Monday, looked into the E484K mutation involved some 2,000 people, most of whom were young and healthy.
“We do believe our vaccine could protect against severe disease, as neutralising antibody activity is equivalent to that of other Covid-19 vaccines that have demonstrated activity against more severe disease, particularly when the dosing interval is optimised to eight to 12 weeks,” a spokesman reportedly said.
It comes after research released on Friday indicated that the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab is effective at fighting the new UK coronavirus variant, PA Media reports.
Andrew Pollard, professor of paediatric infection and immunity, and chief investigator on the Oxford vaccine trial, said: “Data from our trials of the ChAdOx1 vaccine in the United Kingdom indicate that the vaccine not only protects against the original pandemic virus, but also protects against the novel variant, B117, which caused the surge in disease from the end of 2020 across the UK.”
Also on Friday, public health officials said the outcomes of targeted tests to track the South African variant in England could take up to two weeks.
Door-to-door testing as part of urgent efforts to swab 80,000 people came after 11 cases of the variant were identified in the previous few days in people who had no links to travel – suggesting it may be spreading in communities.