There’s no evidence existing vaccines won’t provide some protection against the omicron variant, the University of Oxford said as scientists scramble to assess the new Covid-19 mutation.
“Despite the appearance of new variants over the past year, vaccines have continued to provide very high levels of protection against severe disease and there is no evidence so far that omicron is any different,” the university said Tuesday.
Drugmakers are rushing to test their shots and therapeutics against omicron amid signs it could spread more quickly and evade vaccine protection due to the high number of mutations it displays. Companies and scientists have all said it will take some weeks before the true impact is known, with little data to go on so far.
AstraZeneca Plc, which co-developed the Covid vaccine with Oxford, said Friday it was testing the shot and already conducting research in countries such as Botswana where the variant has been identified. Oxford has the “tools and processes in place” to swiftly tweak the vaccine to target omicron if needed, it said.