AstraZeneca’s booster shot effective against Omicron: Oxford University

In a statement drugmaker AstraZeneca said, a three-dose course of COVID-19 vaccine is effective against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, citing data from an Oxford University lab study.

The results of the study, which is yet to be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, matches those from rivals Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna which have also found a third dose of their shots works against Omicron.

The study on AstraZeneca’s vaccine, Vaxzevria, showed that a three-dose course of the vaccine neutralises Omicron, just as two doses of its vaccine was effective against the Delta variant.

London-listed AstraZeneca said, researchers at Oxford University who carried out the study were independent from those who worked on the vaccine with AstraZeneca.

“As we better understand Omicron, we believe we will find that T-cell response provides durable protection against severe disease and hospitalisations,” said Mene Pangalos, the head of AstraZeneca’s biopharmaceuticals R&D in reference to a critical component of the immune system that respond to fight infection.

Antibody levels against Omicron after the booster shot were higher than antibodies in people who had been infected with and recovered naturally from COVID-19, said AstraZeneca.

On Tuesday, AstraZeneca said it was working with Oxford University to produce a vaccine that specifically targets the Omicron variant, joining similar efforts from other vaccine-makers.

The Oxford study analysed blood samples from those infected with COVID-19, those vaccinated with two doses and a booster, and those previously infected with other variants of concern and included samples from 41 people given three doses of Vaxzevria.

Governments and scientists are scrambling to bolster defences against Omicron as the variant threatens to become dominant globally and has prompted renewed curbs ahead of the holidays to contain infections.

Earlier this month, Britain backed the use of boosters following early data showing that a third dose significantly restored protection against Omicron.

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