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Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine 'slows transmission of coronavirus', researchers find

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Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine 'slows transmission of coronavirus', researchers find

AstraZeneca and Oxford University aim to produce a next generation of COVID-19 vaccines that will protect against variants as soon as the autumn before the Northern Hemisphere winter, an executive at the British drugmaker said on Wednesday.

The health secretary has hailed the findings as "absolutely superb", though the data is still pending peer review.

As many as 88 per cent of people showed antibodies in their blood to fight COVID-19 six months after infection, finds the study based on the UK Biobank data of nearly 1,700 people.

For one, the results suggest that even a single dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine can be 76% effective at preventing illness from the coronavirus 21 days after receiving it (it's thought to take 21 days for the immune system to build up an effective response against the virus).

The two dose jab could help to break the chain of transmission of the virus and stop people becoming ill for up to 12 weeks between when a first and second dose is administered.

"Our data suggest you want to be as close to the 12 weeks as you can" for the second dose, Pangalos said during a news conference.

The letter, signed by chief investigator Pollard, stated that researchers "are not sure what dose of vaccine is most likely to be protective against COVID disease" and explained that doses "are measured using standard scientific test methods".

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine could lead to a "substantial" fall in the spread of the virus, say scientists.

The protection showed "little evidence of waning" between 22 days and 12 weeks after the vaccination, the study said.

In the paper, which is now under review at The Lancet, the researchers report on an analysis of additional data to include information from the trial up to December 7 2020.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the data from the study was "really encouraging".

The company said it is still analyzing the spectrum of possibilities.

Analyses of positive coronavirus swabs in the United Kingdom population suggest the vaccine may have a substantial effect on transmission of the virus, with a 67% reduction in positive swabs among those vaccinated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.

The part that has immunologists and epidemiologists tentatively excited, however, is that the vaccine can potentially significantly reduce transmission of the disease.

Dr Ramsay added: "There may be extremely rare occasions where the same vaccine is not available, or where it is not known what vaccine the patient received".

Health officials this week began increased testing in eight areas across England where almost a dozen cases of the variant were identified.

The South African variant - which also shows the mutation - is under investigation in at least eight postcode areas of England where cases not linked to travel have been found.

Boxes of coronavirus testing kits are prepared at Woking Fire Station, prior to the start of door-to-door coronavirus testing.

This change was brought in to vaccinate as many people as possible with one vaccine dose, to increase the amount of people with some protection against COVID-19. Yet other experts have argued that it would be very unlikely for a vaccine to lower the risk of the former but not the latter.

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