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AstraZeneca vaccine trials show 3 doses give good protection against Omicron: Serum CEO

AstraZeneca vaccine trials show 3 doses give good protection against Omicron: Serum CEO

AstraZeneca said preliminary data from a trial it conducted on its COVID-19 shot, Vaxzevria, showed it generated a higher antibody response against the Omicron variant and others, including Beta, Delta, Alpha and Gamma, when given as a third booster dose.

Serum CEO Adar Poonawalla Serum CEO Adar Poonawalla

In a positive development amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic surge across the world due to the rapid spread of highly contagious Omicron variant of the virus, a new data from ongoing Astazeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trials has shown that three doses give good protection against the variant, Serum Institute of India (SII)  CEO Adar Poonawalla stated on Thursday.

Taking to Twitter, the chief of world's largest vaccine manufacturing company, which is also responsible for manufacturing Oxford-AstraZeneca's vaccine 'Covishield' in India, posted that the data was "an encouraging news, as per Professor Sir Andrew J Pollard, the chief investigator and director of the Oxford Vaccine Group."

AstraZeneca said on Thursday preliminary data from a trial it conducted on its COVID-19 shot, Vaxzevria, showed it generated a higher antibody response against the Omicron variant and others, including Beta, Delta, Alpha and Gamma, when given as a third booster dose.

The increased response was seen in people who were previously vaccinated with either Vaxzevria or an mRNA vaccine, the drugmaker said, adding that it would submit this data to regulators worldwide given the urgent need for boosters.

A separate Phase IV trial reported in a preprint with The Lancet on SSRN showed that a third dose of Vaxzevria substantially increased antibody levels following a primary vaccine series with CoronaVac (Sinovac Biotech).

The data is the first released by the company from its trials into boosters of its vaccine.

"These data add to the growing body of evidence supporting Vaxzevria as a third dose booster irrespective of the primary vaccination schedules tested.2,3 The company is submitting these additional data to health authorities around the world given the urgent need for third dose boosters," the statement added.

Professor Sir Andrew J Pollard, chief investigator and director of the Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford, said: “These important studies show that a third dose of Vaxzevria after two initial doses of the same vaccine, or after mRNA or inactivated vaccines, strongly boosts immunity against COVID-19. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is suitable as an option to enhance immunity in the population for countries considering booster programmes, adding to the protection already demonstrated with the first two doses.”

A major British trial in December found that AstraZeneca's shot increased antibodies when given as a booster after initial vaccination with its own shot or Pfizer's, which is based on mRNA technology.

However, the study concluded that mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna gave the biggest boost to antibodies when given as a booster dose.