The coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University is expected to protect against the new COVID-19 variants, just as it will against the first strain for which it was created.
That’s what CEO Pascal Soriot told The Sunday Times this weekend. He added, “But we can’t be sure, so we’re going to test that.”
“We think we have figured out the winning formula and how to get efficacy that, after two doses, is up there with everybody else,” he said.
The UK government signed deals for 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine — the largest single order from the British government — with 40 million to be ready by the end of March.
Israel’s Health Ministry has also made a deal with AstraZeneca to receive its vaccine; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein signed an agreement for the acquisition of approximately 10 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine — enough to inoculate five million Israeli citizens.
The first supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to reach the Jewish State sometime in January, subject to the approval of the regulatory authorities in Europe, the US and Israel.
The B.1.1.7 variant discovered in the United Kingdom, which has since made its way to at least a dozen other countries around the world, has so far had 23 documented changes, according to Business Insider.
Health officials in Britain said the B.1.1.7 variant appears to be about 70 percent more transmissible than the original COVID-19 virus. By last week it had already infected some 40,000 people in the UK; the same variant was also identified in Japan this past Friday.
In addition, two more COVID-19 variants, different ones, have also been discovered: one in South Africa and another in Nigeria.