LONDON (Reuters) – British researchers are to explore mixing doses of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines shots in a world first trial aimed at finding new ways to swiftly reduce coronavirus infections as new mutated variants emerge.
While thousands of individual changes have arisen as the virus mutates on replication and evolves into new variants, only a tiny minority are likely to be important or change the virus in an appreciable way, according to the British Medical Journal.
Among coronavirus variants currently most concerning for scientists and public health experts are the so-called British, South African and Brazilian variants, which appear to spread more swiftly than others.
British Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi said current COVID-19 vaccines would probably still protect people against infection with the new variants, but this would need to be closely monitored.
“Its very unlikely that the current vaccine won’t be effective on the variants … especially when it comes to severe illness and hospitalisation,” Zahawi told Sky News.