AstraZeneca vaccine: Dr Green shares what's in Oxford jab
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The UK is hurtling towards July 19, when England will be released from all remaining coronavirus restrictions. What was expected to be a moment of jubilation for the nation has been met with increasing apprehension. New SAGE figures are bound to amplify that anxiety. According to data published by the body of experts, those double-jabbed with the AstraZeneca vaccine may be three times more likely to get symptoms of the virus than those who got Pfizer and Moderna.
The findings hail from Britain’s largest surveillance study, known as REACT-2, which randomly tests blood samples from hundreds of thousands of Britons.
The presence of antibodies varied more in people who had received a single dose, both across age groups and by vaccine type.
This estimate falls far short of the two other jabs deployed in the UK against coronavirus.
Scientists at Imperial College London estimate two doses of AstraZeneca’s jab is 55 percent effective at blocking symptoms of the Indian “Delta” variant.
In contrast, a mere 15 people would have been struck down with symptoms for Pfizer or Moderna, according to the Imperial team.
A clear consensus is yet to emerge around the efficacy of the AstraZeneca jab, however.
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Further complicating the picture is a new study published in the journal Nature.
The study suggests the jab could confer lifelong protection against COVID-19.
In addition to vigorously generating virus-eliminating antibodies, the vaccine also creates “training camps” in the body for search-and-destroy T-cells which can kill even new variants, the study found.
It means the body can continue making these vital cells long after the antibodies have waned – as possibly for the rest of your life.
Scientists from Oxford and Switzerland, writing in journal Nature, said T-cell protection is a “key feature” of adenovirus vaccines like the AZ and J&J jabs.
Researcher Professor Burkhard Ludewig, of Cantonal Hospital in Switzerland, said: “The T-cells that come from these cellular training camps appear to have a very high level of ‘fitness’.
“Adenoviruses have co-evolved with humans over a very long time, and learned a lot about the human immune system in the process.
“Viruses are always the best teachers, and here they have taught us an important lesson about how best to boost killer T-cell responses.
Prof Burkhard added: “Hopefully we can put this to good use in designing new vaccines targeting other diseases like TB, HIV, hepatitis C and cancer.”
The researchers also found adenoviruses are able to get into long-lived tissue cells, known as fibroblastic reticular cells, which act as “training grounds” for T-cells.
The latest research echoes previous studies, which have shown the AZ jab is more effective at generating T-cells than mRNA vaccines like the Pfizer and Moderna ones.
Prof Paul Klenerman, of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Medicine, said: “Millions of people have received adenovirus vaccines around the world.
The ultimate goal with these vaccines is the induction of long-term immune system protection using both antibodies and T-cells.
“This research helps us to understand more on the process of vaccination, and why the effects on killer T-cells are so prolonged.”
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