AstraZeneca says its COVID-19 vaccine effective against severe disease caused by variants

UK – According to AstraZeneca, new real-world data from Canada shows its COVID-19 vaccine, Vaxzevria, was found to be highly effective after one dose against severe disease or hospitalization caused by the Beta and Delta variants.

The data retrieved from the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN) with support from Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health showed one dose of Vaxzevria was 82% effective against hospitalization or death caused by the Beta and Gamma COVID-19 variants.

Additionally, a single dose of the jab showed high efficacy against the Delta and Alpha variants, showing an 87% reduction and 90% reduction of hospitalizations or deaths respectively.

The analysis included 69,533 individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 from December 2020 to May 2021 in Ontario, Canada, with 28,705 testing positive for non-variants of concern and 40,828 testing positive for a variant of concern.

“With different variants threatening to disrupt our route out of the pandemic, this real-world evidence shows that Vaxzevria, along with other vaccines used in Canada, provides a high level of protection against the most serious forms of the disease, even after just one shot,” Said Mene Pangalos, executive vice president, Biopharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca.

With the virus still at large, more variants are from new infections despite the delta variant being dominant across the world.

A new variant, the lambda variant, first identified in Peru, is also making headlines as it has started to be identified in several states across the US.

Houston Methodist Hospital reported its first case of the variant this week. Scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina recently announced they had found the variant in a virus sample taken in April.

According to a database for scientists tracking coronavirus variants, fewer than 700 cases of the lambda variant have been sequenced in the U.S. so far out of more than 34 million coronavirus cases reported to date.

But the U.S. has sequenced only a tiny fraction of its cases, so that number does not reflect the actual number of lambda cases in the country.

Fewer than 1% of U.S. cases in the last four weeks have been identified as the lambda variant, according to GISAID, a repository for genome data.

The delta variant, which is more than two times as transmissible as the original strain of the coronavirus, now accounts for 83% of new coronavirus cases in the United States. Delta continues to be the central concern for public health officials.

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