UK Steps Up Search For Vaccines Against ‘Variants Of Concern’
Study Also To Begin On Different Third 'Booster' Dose
As the World Health Organization brands the Indian virus a “variant of concern,” the UK is planning to use a lab-grown virus variant in challenge trials of current and new vaccines, and is also investing in new variant vaccine testing facilities. A new study will use Oxford Immunotec’s T cell test to monitor people’s immunological response to infection or vaccination.
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As the B.1.617 variant of SARS-CoV-2 spreads to countries including the UK and US after having caused havoc in India, vaccine effectiveness against this variant is under the lens with breakthrough cases reported post full vaccination. Meanwhile, CEPI’s offer to help in testing against variants has potential to harmonize assessment of COVID-19 vaccines performance.
Amid the growing threat posed by variants of the coronavirus, the European Commission has published new rules allowing modified vaccines to be approved more quickly. The UK has identified one version of the B.1.167 virus variant as the most transmissible, although the jury is still out on its ability to evade vaccine protection.
The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the need for less well-resourced countries to improve access to medicines, vaccines, medical devices and other health products by building their own production capacities.