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South Africa Halts AstraZeneca's COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout On Efficacy Against Variant

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  • AstraZeneca Plc (NASDAQ: AZN) is working on a new version of its COVID-19 vaccine for immunity against the South African coronavirus variant after a small early data suggested that AZN’s jab has limited protection against mild disease caused by the variant, Bloomberg reports.
  • Sarah Gilbert, leading the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine program, said work was already underway, and the new shot is “very likely” to be available by autumn.”
  • Meanwhile, South Africa has suspended inoculation, as per CNBC. “The government would await advice from scientists on how best to proceed, after disappointing results in a trial conducted by the University of the Witwatersrand,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.
  • Researchers from the University of Witwatersrand and others in South Africa, and the University of Oxford, noted that the study was small, involving only around 2,000 volunteers.
  • After the disappointing trial results on the variant, the country now plans to fast-track the rollout of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine after it showed more efficacy against a new variant, according to Glenda Gray, president of the South African Medical Research Council.
  • Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have also reported that their vaccinations offer protection against new known virus variants in South Africa and the U.K.
  • Price Action: AZN is up 0.42% at $49.94 in premarket trading on the last check Monday.
 

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