South Africa halts the roll-out of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on temporarily basis | Coronavirus
South Africa has discontinued use of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca after it was revealed that the vaccine does not protect clinical trial participants against a new strain of coronavirus in mild to moderate stages of the disease.
These findings were a devastating blow to the country’s efforts to combat the pandemic..
Scientists in South Africa said a similar problem exists in people infected with earlier versions of the virus. Naturally acquired immunity does not appear to protect them from reinfection..
These events, which occurred almost a week after after the million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in South Africa, it was a huge setback for the country, where more than 46 thousand people are known to have died from the virus.
The small number of cases estimated in studies conducted by South African scientists on Sunday made it difficult to know exactly if the Oxford vaccine protects against the strain that was named «B. 1.351».
The participants in the clinical trials were relatively young, making it very difficult to determine if the aforementioned serum could protect against severe Covid-19, hospitalizations, or death..
However, based on the immune responses found in blood samples from people who were injected with the drug, scientists said the vaccine could still probably protect the body from severe cases of the disease..
If further research shows this to be the case, South African health officials will consider re-launching the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine..
However, the fact that the vaccine was found to be minimally effective in preventing mild to moderate infections with the new strain added pessimism about global concerns that current vaccines are useless against coronavirus mutations..
Pfizer and Moderna said preliminary laboratory studies show their drugs are less effective against B. 1.351. Novavax and J&J also note this trend..
A pause in South Africans’ mass vaccination campaign means the first lots of AstraZeneca vaccines will temporarily gather dust in warehouses.. Local authorities say they will vaccinate healthcare workers with Johnson vaccine in coming weeks & Johnson, which is highly effective in preventing severe cases and hospitalizations caused by the new strain.
Company J&J applied for an emergency use permit in South Africa. Health officials indicated that even before the drug is approved, some health care workers will be given the vaccine as part of an ongoing study.