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AstraZeneca third

AstraZeneca: Third dose against Omicron

A test tube labelled with the Vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/IllustrationAstraZeneca said on Thursday that preliminary data from a trial showed that its COVID-19 shot, Vaxzevria, generated an increase in antibodies against the Omicron and other variants when given as a third booster…

AstraZeneca vaccine
A test tube labelled with the Vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

AstraZeneca said on Thursday that preliminary data from a trial showed that its COVID-19 shot, Vaxzevria, generated an increase in antibodies against the Omicron and other variants when given as a third booster dose.

The increased response, also against the Delta variant, was seen in a blood analysis of people who were previously vaccinated with either Vaxzevria or an mRNA vaccine, the drugmaker said, adding that it would submit this data to regulators worldwide given the urgent need for boosters.

AstraZeneca has developed the vaccine with researchers from the University of Oxford, and lab studies conducted by the university last month already found a three-dose course of Vaxzevria boosted antibody levels in the blood against the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

The brief statement on Thursday, which did not include specific data, was the first by AstraZeneca on the protective potential of Vaxzevria as a booster shot following a two shot-course of either an mRNA based vaccine or Vaxzevria. Moderna and BioNTech-Pfizer make vaccines based on mRNA technology.

The company said the findings “add to the growing body of evidence supporting Vaxzevria as a third dose booster irrespective of the primary vaccination schedules tested”.

The data about Vaxzevria’s potential as a booster was derived from a comparative study in a trial to test a new vaccine that uses the same vector technology as Vaxzevria, but targets the now-superseded Beta version. AstraZeneca hopes to prove that the Beta-specific vaccine can also be used against other variants. More trial data will be available in the second half of 2018.

Separately, Oxford University and AstraZeneca last month started work on a vaccine specifically targeting Omicron though Astra – as well as other va

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