AstraZeneca begins human trials to test new COVID-19 vaccine against Beta variant

AstraZeneca begins human trials to test new COVID-19 vaccine against Beta variant

The new, modified vaccine from AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford will serve as a booster for protection against the Beta variant.

AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford have started human trials of a new COVID-19 vaccine, which will serve as a booster. Aside from targeting one of the world’s variants of concern, researchers stated that they will use the entire study to understand COVID-19 better.

Oxford Vaccine Group director Professor Sir Andrew J Pollard shared a few thoughts about the matter in a recent press release. He said that the trials are “important to ensure” the public’s preparedness to stay ahead of the pandemic crisis.

Global News reported that the study aims to provide protection against the Beta variant. As for the data from the trial, the public may expect it later this year.

Building immunity against Beta variant

The goal of the study is to build immunity against the Beta variant. It first emerged in South Africa, and has since reached other parts of the globe, including the United Kingdom.

The same publication noted that South Africa halted the use of AstraZeneca vaccines. This came after previous results showed that the jabs were “less effective” against the lineage B.1.351.

The press release on Sunday also revealed that they will submit the new, modified vaccine to regulators as a “next-generation booster vaccine” after the completion of the study. They will use an “expedited regulatory pathway” in order to do so.

The trial reportedly involves a total of 2,250 participants from four different countries.

Building immunity against Beta variant

Dose regimen of the new AstraZeneca vaccine

The new vaccine is a two-dose regimen for unvaccinated individuals. It will also serve as a second vaccine shot for people who have already received the initial dose of the original AstraZeneca jab.

As for those who have already completed their COVID-19 vaccinations, it will be a booster shot. But, they should take it at least three months after completing the vaccination. This applies to both recipients of the original vaccines from the company and mRNA jabs.

Considering that individuals who have taken mRNA vaccines may take the new jab as a booster, the trial may also reportedly help researchers understand the effects of mixing mRNA vaccine doses with adenovirus vaccines.

About the original COVID-19 jab

The AstraZeneca vaccine is one of the jabs recommended by the World Health Organization. Like the one from Johnson & Johnson, it is a viral vector vaccine.

Healthline explains that this type of jab uses a different mechanism to induce an immune response. The interval between the administering of the doses is much longer, as well.

Most COVID-19 vaccines have a three to 4-week interval between the two doses. As for AstraZeneca, the suggested gap between the doses is around eight to 12 weeks.

Images courtesy of Vox/YouTube

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