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Vaccines may protect against Brazilian variant more than assumed

A study by Oxford University has examined the impact of natural and vaccine-induced antibodies the Brazilian COVID-19 strain

The University of Oxford has said the the existing COVID-19 vaccines may protect against the Brazilian variant of the coronavirus as the P1 strain could potentially be less resistant to antibodies than was first thought.

A study by the university, which jointly developed the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine with the British-Swedish firm, examined the impact of both the natural and vaccine-induced antibodies on the different strains of COVID-19.

The research, which is yet to have been peer-reviewed, had measured the level of antibodies that can neutralise, or stop an infection from, the coronavirus variants that are circulating in South Africa, Brazil and elsewhere.

This comes after Donald Trump has urged his Republican supporters to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. During a TV interview with the right-wing Fox News, the former US president said that the vaccine is “safe” and “something that works”.

It found that vaccines do not work as well against the variants as against the original strain of coronavirus, but that the P1 Brazilian variant may be less resistant to vaccine-induced antibodies than first feared.

“These data suggest that natural and vaccine-induced antibodies can still neutralise these variants, but at lower levels,” the university said.

“Importantly, the P1 ‘Brazilian’ strain may be less resistant to these antibodies than first feared.”

The study used blood samples from people who have natural antibodies generated from a COVID-19 infection and from those whose antibodies were induced by the Oxford or Pfizer vaccines.

It found a nearly three-fold reduction in the level of virus neutralisation by the antibodies generated by the Oxford and Pfizer vaccines for the Kent and Brazil variants when compared with the original strain, and a nine-fold and 7.6-fold reduction respectively against the South Africa variant.

The UK had been the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The vaccine is currently being rolled out across the country, alongside the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which was given the green light by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) weeks later and administered to patients from the start of this year.

This comes after The European Commission and Italy have blocked a shipment of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that was destined for use in Australia, to prevent a shipment of doses being sent off before they are given to the bloc.

Approval of the Moderna jab followed, and the company said on Thursday that it expects to deliver its first COVID vaccines to Britain in April. A spokesman added that it is on track to meet its supply obligations.

It comes after ministers warned the vaccine rollout would be slower than hoped during the next few months due to problems with international supplies.

Pfizer has said its deliveries to the UK for the first three months of the year “remain on track”.

And AstraZeneca has said its UK domestic supply chain “is not experiencing any disruption and there is no impact on our delivery schedule”.

Eve Cooper
Eve Cooper
I've been writing articles and stories for as long as I can remember and in the past few years I've had the fortune of turning that love & passion for writing into my job 🙂

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