COVID-19: AstraZeneca says its third jab 'significantly' boosts Omicron antibodies

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Dec 23, 2021, 04:31 PM IST

Representative image Photograph:(Reuters)

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AstraZeneca said that the third dose booster vaccination "neutralised the Omicron variant to levels that were broadly similar to those observed after... the second dose against the Delta variant"

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has said that its coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is effective against the Omicron variant, which is spreading fast across the world after it was first detected a month ago. 

Citing a study, the British pharmaceutical giant said that a third, or "booster" dose of its Covid vaccine Vaxzevria lifted antibody levels "significantly" against the Omicron strain in a laboratory study

"Vaxzevria significantly boosted levels of antibodies against the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant (B.1.1.529) following a third dose booster," the company said in a statement citing a study which is yet to be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. 

A part of the report, published by AstraZeneca on its website stated that neutralising antibody levels against Omicron following a third dose boost of Vaxzevria were broadly similar to levels achieved after two doses against the Delta variant. 

The study analysed blood samples taken from individuals infected with Covid-19; those vaccinated with two doses plus a booster; and those who had reported previous Covid infection.

Investigators from the University of Oxford, which is the academic institution that helped AstraZeneca develop the vaccine last year, conducted the study. 

Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine, University of Oxford, UK and one of the study investigators, said: "It is very encouraging to see that current vaccines have the potential to protect against Omicron following a third dose booster. These results support the use of third dose boosters as part of national vaccine strategies, especially to limit the spread of variants of concern, including Omicron."

WHO's warning over Omicron

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged the world to pull together and make difficult decisions needed within the next year as he said that "2022 must be the year we end the pandemic."

He also said that it's better to cancel events "now and celebrate later than to celebrate now and grieve later" and urged the countries to avoid crowd gatherings as it would be a "perfect platform" for Omicron to spread. 

"An event cancelled is better than a life cancelled," he said. 

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(With inputs from agencies)