In collaboration with the Oxford University, AstraZeneca has launched clinical trials of its modified COVID-19 vaccine to test its efficacy against the Beta variant of Coronavirus, which first emerged from South Africa.
Named AZD2816, the modified vaccine has been developed using the same formula as AZD1222, AstraZeneca’s main COVID-19 vaccine, but with slight genetic changes to the spike protein based on the South African variant of the viral infection.
According to a statement by the UK-based pharmaceutical company, 2,250 volunteers from the UK, South Africa, Brazil, and Poland have enrolled for the clinical trials of the modified vaccine.
The volunteers include people vaccinated with two doses of AstraZeneca’s main Coronavirus vaccine or mRNA-based Coronavirus vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna and those who are completely unvaccinated. The results of the trials will be released later this year.
Andrew Pollard, Chief Investigator and Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group at the Oxford University, has said “testing booster doses of existing vaccines and new variant vaccines is important to ensure we are best prepared to stay ahead of the Coronavirus pandemic, should their use be needed.”
Last week, AstraZeneca announced that its main Coronavirus vaccine offered significant protection against Delta and Kappa variants of Coronavirus, which first emerged from India.