AstraZeneca vaccine doesn’t show ‘good protection’ against South Africa variant – Dr Tang

Covid variant: Expert on concerns over 'double-mutant' strain

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Two areas of South London are undergoing surge testing after a cluster of cases involving the South African variant were discovered. The cases were discovered in Wandsworth and Lambeth. Speaking on the BBC on Tuesday, Dr Julian Tang, Clinical Virologist at the University of Leicester issued a warning about the AstraZeneca vaccine’s protection against the new variant.

“AstraZeneca vaccine doesn’t show good protection against the South Africa variant,” warned Dr Tang.

As he explained, the variant appears to contain “some property” that evades the the vaccine.

The South African variant, also known as B.1.351, shares some of the same mutations as the UK (Kent) and Brazilian strains.

Research has found the AstraZeneca vaccine to be less effective again the variant when compared to other coronavirus strains.

A small study of 2,000 people in South Africa has shown that the AstraZeneca vaccine offers minimal protection against mild cases of the South African variant.

The vaccine is still likely to reduce severe cases and deaths from the South African strain, however.

The verdict, which was based on data from people with an average age of 31, shows that protection may be as low as 10 percent.

The research wasn’t able to determine whether it protects against serious illness or hospitalisation, because this group of people were at low risk of serious illness.

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Research elsewhere suggests that the vaccine is still likely to reduce severe cases and deaths from the South African strain.

South Africa variant – London latest

The variant’s arrival in London is thought to be due to someone travelling into the country from Africa in February.

Everyone in the area is being asked to get a test in a bid to contain the virus.

So far there has been 44 confirmed and 30 probable cases of the variant identified.

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