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AstraZeneca Says Booster Dose Of Its Vaccine Vaxzevria Helps Against Omicron; What It Means For India

The Vaxzevria vaccine is manufactured and supplied by the Serum Institute of India under the name 'Covishield'.

Do Vaccines Work Against Omicron?
The Vaxzevria vaccine has received a conditional marketing authorisation or emergency use approval in over 90 countries. Image for representation. (Source: Pexels)

New Delhi: Vaccine maker AstraZeneca on Thursday said Vaxzevria, when given as a third dose booster, increased antibody response to the Omicron variant. The pharmaceutical company cited preliminary analysis of an ongoing safety and immunogenicity trial of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The booster dosage of Vaxzevria also increased the immune response to Beta, Delta, Alpha and Gamma SARS-CoV-2 variants , as per the study. These observations were made after trials among individuals previously vaccinated with either Vaxzevria or an mRNA vaccine.

The Vaxzevria vaccine is manufactured and supplied by the Serum Institute of India under the name ‘Covishield’. The SII manufactures the vaccine under a sub-licence agreement with AstraZeneca.

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Hailing the study, Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla said, “This is encouraging news, as per Professor Sir Andrew J Pollard, chief investigator and director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, new data from ongoing Astazeneca/Oxford vaccine trials has shown that three doses give good protection against Omicron.”

What Is Vaxzevria?

Invented by the University of Oxford, Vaxzevria uses a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector based on a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees and contains the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein.

After vaccination, the surface spike protein is produced, priming the immune system to attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus if it later infects the body.

The Vaxzevria vaccine has received a conditional marketing authorisation or emergency use approval in over 90 countries. It also has the emergency use listing from the World Health Organization, which accelerates the pathway to access in up to 144 countries through the COVAX facility.

AstraZeneca Seeking Approval for Vaxzevria Booster Dose In Various Countries

“Vaxzevria has protected hundreds of millions of people from COVID-19 around the world and these data show that it has an important role to play as a third dose booster, including when used after other vaccines,” Mene Pangalos, executive vice-president (biopharmaceuticals R&D) of AstraZeneca, said in a statement.

Given the ongoing urgency of the pandemic and Vaxzevria’s increased immune response to the Omicron variant, the company will continue to progress regulatory submissions around the world for its use as a third dose booster, he added.

Andrew J Pollard, chief investigator and director of the Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford, said, “These important studies show that a third dose of Vaxzevria after two initial doses of the same vaccine, or after mRNA or inactivated vaccines, strongly boosts immunity against COVID-19.”

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is suitable as an option to enhance immunity in the population for countries considering booster programmes, adding to the protection already demonstrated with the first two doses, he added.

(With PTI Inputs)