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AstraZeneca effective against Brazil variant – source

Preliminary data from a study conducted at the University of Oxford indicates that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca is effective against the Brazilian variant of the disease.

A source knowledgeable of the study told Reuters on Friday that the data indicates that the vaccine will not need to be modified in order to protect against the variant also known as P1, which is believed to have originated in the Amazonian city of Manaus.

Last month, South Africa paused the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the country after early results indicated that it was less effective against the South African variant, which is similar to P1.

The source did not provide the exact efficacy of the vaccine against the Brazilian variant, but said the full results of the study should be released soon, possibly in March.

The promising information comes as a small-sample study suggested that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China's Sinovac may not work effectively against the Brazilian variant.

Brazil is currently confronting a brutal and long-lasting second wave of the coronavirus, hitting a daily record of more than 1900 deaths on Wednesday.

The P1 variant is among the factors that epidemiologists believe is contributing to a rise in cases and deaths there, with concern in the scientific community about the variant's resistance to vaccines.