• Friday, May 07, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:18 pm

AstraZeneca could have Covid-19 vaccine against new variant by end-2021

  • Published at 12:40 am April 19th, 2021
Members of Somali First Aid Association (SOFA)
Members of Somali First Aid Association (SOFA) arrive to spray disinfectants in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a camp for the internally displaced people in Mogadishu, Somalia April 18, 2021 Reuters

Sarah Walters, AstraZeneca's Austria country manager, told the Kurier newspaper that studies, so far, indicating the existing AstraZeneca vaccine was less effective against the more infectious variant first documented in South Africa were 'too small to draw final conclusions'

A modified version of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine tailored to combat a coronavirus variant first documented in South Africa could be ready by the end of 2021, an AstraZeneca official in Austria said in an interview published on Sunday.

Sarah Walters, AstraZeneca's Austria country manager, told the Kurier newspaper that studies, so far, indicating the existing AstraZeneca vaccine was less effective against the more infectious variant first documented in South Africa were "too small to draw final conclusions."

"In the meantime, AstraZeneca and Oxford University have started on modifications to the vaccine for the South African variant and we expect it will be ready by the end of the year, should it be needed," Walters told the Kurier.

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Germany holds a national memorial service for its nearly 80,000 victims of the coronavirus pandemic, putting aside deep divisions over Covid restrictions to share the pain of grieving families.

Record daily death toll in Gaza  

The Gaza Strip records its highest-ever daily death toll with 23 coronavirus fatalities, authorities say, bringing the overall total in the Israeli-blockaded territory to 761. 

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France will impose a 10-day quarantine on arrivals from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and South Africa over concerns about variants of the coronavirus, the prime minister's office says. 

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More than three million dead

The number of people who have died from Covid-19 around the world has passed three million, according to an AFP tally, despite vaccination campaigns.

After a slight lull in March, daily death tolls have increased, with an average of 12,000 deaths a day last week.

The United States is the worst-affected country with 566,904 deaths, followed by Brazil with 371,678 deaths, Mexico with 212,228 deaths, India with 177,150 deaths and Britain with 127,260. 

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