Coronavirus UK: Oxford and AstraZeneca will make a new Covid vaccine by AUTUMN


Oxford and AstraZeneca will make a new Covid vaccine by AUTUMN to tackle mutated variants as coronavirus keeps evolving to escape the immune system

  • Sir Mene Pangalos, a boss at AstraZeneca, said it aims to be ready by autumn
  • The new jab will likely be made to target mutation on the South Africa variant 
  • Professor Andrew Pollard said it would be quicker to make than the first jab

Oxford University and AstraZeneca plan to have a new Covid vaccine ready by the autumn to tackle new variants of the coronavirus, they confirmed today.

Growing evidence suggests that a mutation first found in the South African variant of the virus, and now cropping up elsewhere, can reduce how well current vaccines work because it changes the shape of the spike protein that the jabs target.

And to overcome this, vaccine-makers say they are already working on updating their jabs because they need to be extremely specific to offer the best protection.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca team, makers of one of the world’s most advanced vaccines so far, say they will have theirs ready and manufactured before the end of 2021.

Oxford’s Professor Andrew Pollard, who is leading studies of the jab, said it would be a ‘short process’ compared to making the original vaccine from scratch. 

The update could be used either as a booster for people who have already had a different vaccine or it could be used on its own for those who are still unvaccinated.

AstraZeneca’s executive vice-president, Sir Mene Pangalos, confirmed today: ‘We’re very much aiming to have something ready by the autumn this year.’

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, named ChAdOx1, is one of the most advanced in the world and has already been given to millions of people and data suggests it can stop transmission of the virus as well as severe Covid-19 disease

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, named ChAdOx1, is one of the most advanced in the world and has already been given to millions of people and data suggests it can stop transmission of the virus as well as severe Covid-19 disease

Vaccines are likely to have be updated to cope with mutated variants of the coronavirus because they make super-specific molecules to target the virus.

Professor Andrew Pollard told a media briefing: ‘I think the actual work on designing a new vaccine is very, very quick because it’s essentially just switching out the genetic sequence for the spike protein, so for the updated variants.

‘Then there’s manufacturing to do and then a small-scale study.

‘All of that can be completed in a very short period of time, and the autumn is really the timing for having new vaccines available for use rather than for having the clinical trials run.’

Sir Mene added: ‘Our ambition is to be ready for the next round of immunisations that may be necessary as we go into next winter. That’s what we’re aiming for.’



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