FDA still confident on AstraZeneca vaccine for Covid variants in PH

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FILE PHOTO: Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Eric Domingo on Tuesday said pharmaceutical firm Astrazeneca’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine would still be effective to use in the country despite the rise of new variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

In a Laging Handa briefing, Domingo said the Covid-19 variant in the country is similar to the original variant that was used in the development of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine.

He was responding to the public’s concern about the efficacy of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine after South Africa suspended its use as it was found ineffective against the variant dominating the country.

“This doesn’t have any effect on us because the South African variant has not reached the Philippines and even the cases related to the UK variant are few here,” he said in Filipino.

Citing a letter from the World Health Organization (WHO), Domingo said there are still no changes among the indications of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine.

The WHO, he added, promised to provide about the vaccines’ efficacy on the circulating virus and additional data on new SARS-CoV-2 variants.

“That’s why we require manufacturers to complete their development as they monitor [the virus mutation] because if needed, they can revise or tweak the vaccines to be responsive to the newer variants,” Domingo said in Filipino.

Apart from AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, the FDA also granted emergency use authorization to Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine last month.

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