Daily US Times: Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine offers limited protection against mild disease caused by the South Africa variant, early trials suggest.
But AstraZeneca said it believed the vaccine could protect against severe disease caused by the more transmissible coronavirus variant.
The firm’s preliminary findings from a small study of more than 2,000 people have not yet been peer-reviewed.
More than 100 cases of the South Africa’s coronavirus variant have been found in the UK.
The preliminary findings, first reported by the Financial Times and confirmed by AstraZeneca, suggest the Covid-19 vaccine offers limited protection against mild and moderate disease caused by the variant.
The findings of the study is due to be published on Monday.
An AstraZeneca spokesperson said they had not yet been able to properly establish whether the vaccine dose would prevent severe disease and hospitalisation caused by the South Africa variant because those involved in the study had predominantly been young, healthy adults.
But the company expressed confidence that the vaccine would offer protection against serious cases, because it created neutralising antibodies similar to those of other coronavirus vaccines.
Oxford University told Reuters news agency it was working with AstraZeneca to “optimise” the pipeline in vaccine production if it needed to adapt to a change in the virus.
The University has said a new vaccine to work against mutated versions of the virus could be ready to deploy in the autumn if needed.
Dr Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at Southampton University, said that if the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was less protective against mild disease but prevented severe disease this would “still be a pretty good outcome”.