With rising cases of Omicron worldwide, drug major AstraZeneca-Oxford have claimed that the third booster shot of the Covid-19 vaccine Vaxzevria will boost antibody levels against the new variant of coronavirus, Omicron.
This announcement bring with it new opportunities for Serum Institute of India (SII) which is producing Covishield, the Indian version of Vaxzevria. Experts claim that mixing the vaccine may offer better results to boost immunity. Although, Oxford University has supported Vaxzevria as the third booster dose against Omicron.
SII presently has 500 million doses of Covishield (half of which is in bulk drug form) and has halted the production to half due to low demand.
The demand for Covishield in India may rise if the vaccine is recommended as a booster against the Omicron variant. However, a call is yet to be taken on if and when to allow the booster of COVID shots.
Vaxzevria was invented in collaboration with Oxford University and its spin-out company, Vaccitech. After getting jabbed, the surface spike protein is manufactured, preparing the immune system to attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus if it infects the body later.
The neutralization titres for Omicron were boosted after receiving the 3rd dose with Vaxzevria compared to the titres after the second dose. The level recorded after the third dose was higher than neutralizing antibodies that are found in individuals who have been previously infected with the virus and recovered naturally from the original and Alpha, Beta, Delta variants, said AstraZeneca.
Furthermore, the study was performed autonomously by investigators at the University of Oxford.
John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine, University of Oxford, UK and one of the study investigators, said that it is great to see that the current vaccine effectively protects against the virus after the third dose booster. As a part of national vaccine strategies, the result supports the usage of the third dose, especially to bound the spread of variants of concern, including Omicron.
Source Credit - https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/covishield-third-jab-works-against-omicron-variant-says-oxford-121122400017_1.html