A new version of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to tackle the variant first identified in South Africa “will be available for the autumn,” professor of vaccinology at Oxford University Sarah Gilbert said on Sunday.
“It looks very much like [the new vaccine] will be available for the autumn. We’re already working on the first part of the manufacturing process in Oxford, that will be passed on to other members of the manufacturing supply chain as we go through the Spring, and it looks very much like that we can have a new version ready to use in the autumn,” Gilbert told the BBC.
Here's some background: On Saturday, a spokesperson for AstraZeneca told CNN that the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine currently being administered provides limited protection against mild disease in cases caused by the variant first identified in South Africa.
The Financial Times first reported Saturday that a study releasing Monday showed the vaccine does not appear to provide protection against mild and moderate disease caused by the virus variant. CNN has not obtained a copy of the study.
New vaccine not quite ready: Gilbert said the new version of the current Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine “was in the works” but “not quite ready to vaccinate people yet.”
“This year we expect to show that the new version of the vaccine will generate antibodies that recognize the new variant. And then it will be very much like working on flu vaccines, so people will be familiar with the idea that we have to have new components, new strains in the flu vaccine every year to keep up with the new strains that are circulating (…),” she added.