China sees more Covid cases in three months than entire 2021
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AstraZeneca was one of several companies including Pfizer and Moderna, that developed Covid vaccines during 2020.
Now the same company has developed an antibody treatment, one it has found is effective against Omicron and its subvariants.
The Cambridge based organisation says its medication Evusheld has a neutralising impact against versions of the Omicron variant.
This includes Omicron BA.2, currently the dominant form of Covid in the UK.
Pre-clinical data from Washington University also shows AstraZeneca’s therapy helps to reduce lung inflammation.
Vaccines and immune therapies executive, John Perez, described Evusheld as a: “potential important option to help protect vulnerable patients such as the immunocompromised who could face poor outcomes if they were to become infected with Covid-19”.
Such are the results produced by Evusheld, the MHRA has already approved the medication, but the government has yet to approve a supply agreement.
In a statement, the Department of Health and Social care said it was monitoring: “investigations into the treatment’s effectiveness against new variants”.
The risk of new variants developing recently increased significantly when the government lifted the remaining Covid-19 restrictions including the legal requirement to self-isolate if a person tests positive for the virus.
Furthermore, from the first of April free-testing will end in the UK.
As a result of restrictions lifting, a decision criticised by doctors and scientists alike due to the lack of evidence presented by the government, the worry is that a new variant will develop that has a greater degree of vaccine escape than Omicron.
When Omicron spread rapidly through the country at the end of 2021, it was found two doses of the vaccine were not enough to protect people from serious illness.
As a result, the booster programme was accelerated and millions queued up for their third dose of the vaccine.
Three months on from this push, fourth jabs are now being administered, but experts are sceptical.
The reason for their scepticism is down to two factors; effectiveness and variant development.
The current range of vaccines were designed to stop the original variant of Covid-19, the one that spread through the country in early-2020.
Two years on and due to how much the virus has changed, they are less effective than they were.
This is being borne out in data showing the fourth dose isn’t as effective as the previous three.
Furthermore, scientists and doctors are concerned about the development of a vaccine gap between wealth and poor countries; while rich nations are onto their fourth dose, poorer nations are only just starting on their first dose.
The concern is that, as a result, a much more dangerous variant could develop in these nations; one which could cause havoc in the densely populated European nations.
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