RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Preliminary data from a study at the University of Oxford indicates that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca PLC is effective against the P1 variant, or Brazilian variant, a source told Reuters aware of the study. Friday.
The data indicates that the vaccine will not need to be modified in order to protect against the variant, which is believed to have originated in the Amazon city of Manaus, said the source, who requested anonymity because the results did not not yet been made public.
The source did not provide the exact efficacy of the vaccine against the variant. They said the full study results are expected to be released soon, possibly in March.
Initial results indicated that the AstraZeneca vaccine was less effective against the South African variant, which is similar to P1. South Africa subsequently suspended use of the vaccine in the country.
The information comes from a small sample study suggesting that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac in China may not work effectively against the Brazilian variant.
In response to a request for comment, Fiocruz, who sent the samples that formed the basis of the study, told Reuters that it had no information about the study because it was led by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
Representatives for AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Brazil is currently facing a brutal and lasting second wave of the coronavirus, reaching a daily record of 1,910 deaths on Wednesday.
The P1 variant is among the factors that epidemiologists believe are contributing to the increase in cases and deaths, and the scientific community has expressed concern about the resistance of the variant to vaccines.
Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing by Gram Slattery; Edited by Hugh Lawson