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At press time, AstraZeneca stock is at $50 in the pre-market trading, which shows a 0.54% increase over its previous close of $49.73.
British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc (NASDAQ: AZN) said that its coronavirus vaccine jointly developed by the University of Oxford is less effective against the new variant of COVID-19 in South Africa. According to the pharmaceutical company, early data from a trial revealed that the vaccine only provides limited protection against the South African variant of the coronavirus.
Recently, there have been new variants of the coronavirus among the British, South Africans, and Brazilians. Over 100 cases of the South African variant of the coronavirus have been discovered in the UK. The new variant has stirred worries among scientists and public health officials, who have been researching how to combat the disease.
Financial Times revealed details on a study by Oxford University and the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Financial Times noted that a study from the universities showed that the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab fails to prevent the mild and moderate strain of the coronavirus among South Africans.
In response to the Financial Times report, an AstraZeneca spokesman said:
“In this small phase I/II trial, early data has shown limited efficacy against mild disease primarily due to the B.1.351 South African variant. However, we have not been able to properly ascertain its effect against severe disease and hospitalization given that subjects were predominantly young healthy adults.”
AstraZeneca said its vaccine could prevent severe disease. According to the British pharmaceutical company, its vaccine’s neutralizing antibody activity is similar to other vaccines that have exhibited protection against the same severe disease.
Also, the newspaper said over 2000 participants involved in the trial are either dead or hospitalized.
South Africa Suspends AstraZeneca Vaccinations
According to a more recent report by CNBC, South Africa is suspending AstraZeneca vaccinations as data revealed that the shots offer minimal protection against the new strain of COVID-19 found in the country.
On the 7th of February, South Africa’s health minister Zweli Mkhize commented on recent happenings. He said that the government would wait for medical advice from scientists before including AstraZeneca’s shot in its vaccination program.
Before now, the South African government received 1 million doses of AstraZeneca shots produced by the Serum Institute of India. The government then planned to roll out the AstraZeneca vaccine to health care workers. However, the South Africa government has decided to offer the vaccine jointly developed by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) and Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE).
Furthermore, Mkhize said that the vaccines would be available to the health workers beginning from this week. He noted that the vaccines would be available till the next four weeks.
“The AstraZeneca vaccine will remain with us… up till the scientists give us clear indications as to what we need to know.”
At press time, AstraZeneca stock is at $50 in the pre-market trading, which shows a 0.54% increase over its previous close of $49.73. Data by MarketWatch revealed that the company has been declining over the past year. AstraZeneca has plunged 0.36% in the last one year and dropped by 0.525 in its year-to-date record. Also, the company has lost nearly 8% in the last three months. AZN is down 1.54% over the past month and 1.335 in the last five days.