Oxford vaccine DOES work against the Brazil variant
THE Oxford Covid vaccine is effective against the infectious P1 variant from Brazil, a preliminary study has found.
It suggests the jab will not need modification for the mutant, which is thought to originate from Manaus.
Research showed 67 per cent of its population may have had Covid by October last year but its hospitals are full once more. Up to 61 per cent of people who have had Covid are susceptible to reinfection with P1, prompting fears it may evade vaccines.
The variant, which carries a mutation in the spike protein called E484K, is twice as transmissible as earlier strains.
The proportion of cases in Manaus that were the P1 variant grew from zero to 87 per cent in around eight weeks.
P1 is one of four variants of concern being tracked in the UK, where six people have been infected. Now early data from an Oxford University study shows their AstraZeneca vaccine is effective against P1.
Full results are expected this month. Brazil is confronting a brutal second wave, with a daily record of 1,910 deaths on Wednesday.
Dr Susan Hopkins, of Public Health England, told the Downing Street conference last night: ‘We do not yet have clinical data to show the vaccine effectiveness for the P1 variant from Brazil.
‘However, we have some data, and we expect that it should at least perform in a similar way.
‘And therefore we think that it’s likely that there may be some reduction in reducing the risk of transmission. But we at least hope it will have a strong impact in reducing hospitalisations and deaths.’