South Africa suspends rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine after the examine confirmed it supplied much less safety in opposition to variants
During a briefing on Sunday, South African Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize, the lockdown is temporary while scientists figure out how to most effectively use the AstraZeneca vaccine. Mkhize said South Africa will push vaccine use from Pfizer / BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson.
Early data released on Sunday suggested that two doses of the Oxford / AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine provided “minimal protection” against light and moderate Covid-19 from the variant first identified in South Africa.
The study, which was not published, included approximately 2,000 volunteers, who averaged 31 years old; About half got the vaccine and half got a placebo, which does nothing.
Viral neutralization against the B.1.351 variant was “substantially reduced” compared to the previous coronavirus strain, researchers said in a press release. The effectiveness of the vaccine against severe Covid-19, hospitalization and death has not been assessed.
Details of the study by researchers from the University of Witwatersrand and others in South Africa and the University of Oxford were shared in a press release. The results have been submitted for review and a preprint will be released shortly, Oxford said.
In a statement on Sunday, a spokesman for AstraZeneca said the company was “working closely with the South African Ministry of Health to best support the assessment of the B.1.351 variant for serious diseases and to bring this vaccine to the South African people should it.” prove successful. “
The statement said the company expects its vaccine before the new variant B.1.351 will continue to protect against serious illnesses, especially if the dosing interval is eight to 12 weeks.
In a previous statement, the company said it was working with Oxford University to adapt the vaccine against variant B.1.351 so “it will be ready for fall delivery if needed”.
On Sunday, World Health Organization technical director for Covid-19, Maria Van Kerkhove said the WHO’s independent vaccine panel will meet on Monday to discuss the AstraZeneca vaccine and the future relevance of the new study to vaccines.
Van Kerkhove said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that “some preliminary studies indicate decreased efficacy, but these studies are still not fully published.”
She added that having more than one safe and effective vaccine is important: “We can’t just rely on one product.”