AstraZeneca Tests Booster Dose For Beta Variant

London: A booster dose of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine (Covishield in India) is being tested against the beta variant of COVID-19 that first emerged in South Africa.

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This trial will include 2,250 people from the UK, South Africa, Poland and Brazil. It will test unvaccinated people as well as fully vaccinated individuals who have taken two doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine or an mRNA vaccine like Pfizer’s. The data from the trial is expected later this year.

The booster vaccine, called AZD2816, is based on the original vaccine with minor genetic alterations to the spike protein related to the beta variant.

The booster doses are being tested so as to be ready if further shots are required against future variants.

“This study will provide vital evidence on whether further doses including ‘tweaks’ against new virus variants may be needed in the future,” said Maheshi Ramasamy, Principal Investigator at the Oxford Vaccine Group.

While vaccines are less effective on the beta variant, it is the delta variant that first emerged in India which is causing serious concern all over the world because of its high transmissibility.

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