Sri Lanka warned as study suggests AstraZeneca jab 10-pct effective on South Africa Covid-19 variant
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka should take extra care at borders as a new study suggested that an Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being rolled out was only 10 percent effective against a Coronavirus variant found in South Africa, a health expert has warned.
“Big warning to us,” Ravi Rannan-Eliya, head of Insitute of Health Policy, an independent research body said in a twitter.com message.
“We need to tighten borders to keep these variants out.”
South Africa haD halted the rollout of AstraZeneca vaccine developed by Oxford University after the study suggested that it was only 10 percent effective against the variant found in the country, reports said.
UK based BBC said the trial was carried out by the University of the Witwatersrand but has not yet been peer reviewed.
But South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said his government would wait for further advice on how best to proceed with the AstraZeneca vaccine, the report said. The country had already received a million doses of the vaccine.
Shabir Madhi, the professor who led the study, told reporters “unfortunately, the AstraZeneca vaccine does not work against mild and moderate illness”.
“The results that we now describe against the variant, the point estimate is 10 percent, ” he was quoted as saying in a radio show.
“Clearly, that is far off the 60 percent mark and, even if you had a larger study you are unlikely to get to a vaccine efficacy readout of even 40 or 50%.”
The study involving 2,000 younger participants had got a mild to moderate infection raising hopes that it may be effective against severe disease.
An as yet unapproved vaccine by Novavax was found to be 49 percent effective against the South Africa variant in a separate study. (Colombo/Feb08/2021)