The World Health Organization (WHO) said it “believes” that the coronavirus disease vaccine developed by British drugmaker AstraZeneca is still effective against the South African variant of the coronavirus.
“We still believe that the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective even in places where you have a large proportion of cases which could be attributed to the B1351 variant or the South African variant,” said WHO Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe on Thursday, March 4.
The OCTA Research Group on Wednesday, March 3, said “the efficacy of AstraZeneca vaccine against the South African variant could be reduced from 70 percent to 10 percent,” citing an international study.
Abeyasinghe said they were looking at the reports “carefully.” “The sample was a very small sample, less than 2000 people,” he said.
“The study that was used in South Africa was a very limited scale study. And what it showed was that there was evidence of mild and moderate disease…. Of course as I already mentioned, the focus of the vaccines is to prevent severe disease and deaths,” he added.