On Friday, the UK-based Oxford University announced that its researchers working on the COVID-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca-Oxford in a joint effort have found the jab to have a substantially good efficacy rate against the mutated version of the virus which has resulted in an amplified health crisis in the UK.
According to the research, which is still in the pipeline, the vaccine has a "similar efficacy" in comparison to other variants of COVID-19, the university announced, AFP reported.
The vaccine trial's co-chief investigator, Andrew Pollard said in a statement, "Data from our trials... in the United Kingdom indicate that the vaccine not only protects against the original pandemic virus but also protects against the novel variant."
The university added that the vaccine shows a reduction in the "duration of shedding and viral load" in the samples which were taken between October and January.
The results of the preliminary research, which is due for its peer-review, were among the first to note the vaccine's efficacy rate against the novel strain in the UK.
Due to its significantly higher rate of transmission, the variant has become the most commonly found strain in the UK.
However, it is less clear how well the vaccines developed so far will work against several other variants that have emerged around the world, in particular a strain from South Africa that is causing concern.
However, the efficacy rates of other vaccines that have been created all over the world are still unclear, specifically in the case of a variant that has been dominating in South Africa and has also spread throughout the world.
The research team at Oxford University has been trying to look for solutions by tweaking the existing vaccines in a "simple and quick" manner to manufacture an effective vaccine against all variants.
The Oxford trial's co-chief investigator, Sarah Gilbert said, "We have always expected that as the pandemic continues, new variants will begin to become dominant amongst the viruses that are circulating and that eventually a new version of the vaccine... would be required. We are working with AstraZeneca to optimise the pipeline required for a strain change should one become necessary."