Oxford/AstraZeneca to land Sunday, brings 38,400 doses


MANILA, Philippines — A second batch of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines are due Sunday with 38,400 doses onboard a commercial plane.

This arriving batch via the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility is part of its initial pledge of 525,600 doses for its commitment of 4.5 million until May.

The first batch arrived Thursday, 04 March, with 487,200 doses.

The COVAX facility is expected to bring in a total of 9.2 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus through the COVAX facility this year. A separate 17 million procurement by the National Government, the local governments, and the private sector is also due this year.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration. Its efficacy rate is 70% with ease of storage at standard refrigerator temperature of 2°C.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is developed by British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca with the University of Oxford. They are expected to land by 7 p.m., 07 March.


Mutant B.1.351 detected

However, with the surge in new cases of COVID-19 in recent days, and the rising cases of the South African variant detected, the OCTA research firm warns the vaccine’s efficacy could decrease to 10%.

The Department of Health (DOH), although it says studies cited only used a small sample of individuals, it did say the variant from South Africa, B.1.351, “may have an impact on vaccine efficacy.”


South Africa and mutant B.1.351

South Africa’s decision to suspend and then altogether halt the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in early February came about after a study showed “disappointing” results against its new Covid-19 variant, reports say. Scientists are at the forefront of South Africa’s battle against the coronavirus.

The most recent phase of the study on the AstraZeneca vaccine was carried out on 2,000 individuals with average age of 31, and are less likely to become severely ill.

According the scientists who conducted the study, the vaccine’s efficacy showed very little protection against mild to moderate infection. Although in theory, they said, it would still offer significant protection against more serious infection.

Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine, on the other hand, found it may still provide substantial protection against the variant. Scientists at the University of Texas collected antibody-containing blood plasma from 20 people who had completed two shots of Pfizer/BioNtech vaccines.

The tests show the antibodies at 81% on average as effective at neutralizing the engineered virus as they were blocking older variants. The results, published in Nature Medicine, suggest E484K, the variant’s key mutation does not dramatically undermine the vaccine’s protection.

Professor Shabir Madhi from the University of Witwatersrand, who led the Oxford/AstraZeneca trial in South Africa said, that while the study was small, it was designed to focus on determining whether or not the vaccine had alt least 60% efficacy against Covid to any degree of severity.

As at this moment, total cases nationwide reaches 587,704 with 3,045 added. Active cases are at 40,074 and recoveries at 535,207. Deaths recorded have reached 12,423. (JSM/JuanManila)

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