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09 Feb 2021 | 09:29

'Jury still out' on whether world needs new Covid-19 vaccines, Oxford's Pollard says

(Sharecast News) - It remains to be seen whether the world needs new vaccines to fend off the new strains of novel coronavirus, a top researcher said.

In remarks to BBC radio, Andrew Pollard, Chief Investigator on the Oxford trial, said "the jury was still out".

However, all manufacturers were preparing new vaccines so that if they were needed then they would be available.

The day before, researchers from Witwatersrand and the University of Oxford announced that the current AstraZeneca/Oxford University offered only minimal protection against mild-to-moderate cases of Covid-19 from the South African strain of the virus.

Nonetheless, at least some analysts cautioned that the sample size of 2,000 volunteers used that in that yet to be peer-reviewed study made the results very difficult to interpret and that they said nothing regarding the expected efficacy against severe Covid-19.

Pollard agreed, telling the BBC: "The really important question is about severe disease and we didn't study that in South Africa, because that wasn't the point of that study, we were specifically asking questions about young adults."

"I think there's clearly a risk of confidence in the way that people may perceive you," he continued.

"But as I say I don't think that there is any reason for alarm today."
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