UK says 4,000 variants of virus that causes COVID-19 around the world - GulfToday

UK says 4,000 variants of virus that causes COVID-19 around the world


People wait to receive a vaccine against the coronavirus in the Winding Wheel Theatre, Chesterfield, Britain. Reuters

Gulf Today Report

Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline said on Wednesday it will work with a German biopharmaceutical company to develop new vaccines targeting emerging variants of COVID-19 as a British minister said, “There are around 4,000 variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 around the world.

Now all vaccine manufacturers including Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca Plc are trying to improve their vaccines amid concerns that some mutations are making the virus harder to combat.

GSK plans to invest 150 million euros ($181 million) to support the research of the Tubingen, Germany-based CureVac, which is developing vaccines that use messenger RNA to attack the disease. GSK also said it will help make up to 100 million doses of the company’s existing COVID-19 vaccine candidate this year.

UK-Nadhim-ZahawiMinister for COVID Vaccine Deployment Nadhim Zahawi speaks at the House of Commons in London, Britain. File/Reuters

"The increase in emerging variants with the potential to reduce the efficacy of first generation COVID-19 vaccines requires acceleration of efforts to develop vaccines against new variants to keep one step ahead of the pandemic,’’ the companies said in a statement.

The announcement comes as public health officials around the world raise concerns about new virus variants that are more contagious or resistant to existing vaccines. While viruses mutate constantly, most of the changes cause little concern. But scientists are closely tracking these mutations to make sure they quickly identify variants of concern.


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“Its very unlikely that the current vaccine won't be effective on the variants whether in Kent or other variants especially when it comes to severe illness and hospitalisation,” Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi told Sky.

“All manufacturers, Pfizer-Biontech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and others are looking at how they can improve their vaccine to make sure that we are ready for any variant — there are about 4,000 variants around the world of Covid now.”

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