AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Sunday that the British pharmaceutical company’s vaccine is likely to be effective against the new coronavirus strain detected in the UK.
“So far we think the vaccine should remain effective. But we can not be sure, so we are going to test it, ‘Soriot said when asked how the vaccine could resist the new variant of the virus.
According to the Associated Press, Soriot told the Sunday Times that researchers at AstraZeneca have discovered a ‘winning formula’ to make the formula just as effective as that of Pfizer or Moderna, both of which have been approved. The AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be approved this week, the AP said.
“We think we have established the winning formula and how to get effectiveness that is after both others there,” Soriot said.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine, developed in partnership with the University of Oxford, is initially not as effective as its US counterparts, with partial results suggesting it is 70 percent effective in preventing disease, reports the AP.
This new strain of the virus has sounded the alarm worldwide, with many countries restricting or banning travel from the UK. The variant is thought to be significantly more contagious than the existing coronavirus strain, although it is no longer fatal or causally worse symptoms.
Moderna said last week he also believes the vaccine can effectively protect people against the new strain.
An important difference in AstraZeneca’s vaccine is that it is not an mRNA vaccine, unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. These vaccines teach immune systems how to create certain proteins that then elicit an immune response without introducing the actual virus into the body, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention..
The AstraZeneca vaccine uses an attenuated version of the virus itself to teach the immune system how to ward it off.
The UK was the first Western country to approve a coronavirus vaccine, and in early December approved Pfizer’s vaccination. On December 24, more than 600,000 were vaccinated in the UK, the AP reported.