University of Oxford study supports use of Vaxzevria as third-dose booster against Omicron

Neutralising anti-body levels against Omicron following a third-dose boost of Vaxzevria were broadly similar to levels achieved after two doses against the Delta variant

AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria significantly boosted levels of antibodies against the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant following a third-dose booster, according to data from a new laboratory study, a statement from AstraZeneca said.

It also said that neutralisation titres for Omicron were boosted following a third dose with Vaxzevria compared to titres after a second dose. The levels seen after the third-dose booster were higher than the neutralising antibodies found in individuals who had been previously infected with and recovered naturally from COVID-19 (Alpha, Beta, Delta variants and original strain). Sera obtained from individuals one month after receiving the third-dose booster vaccination neutralised the Omicron variant to levels that were broadly similar to those observed one month after the second dose against the Delta variant. Two doses of Vaxzevria have been associated with protection against the Delta variant in real-world studies.

The study analysed blood samples taken from individuals infected with COVID-19; those who had been vaccinated with a two-dose schedule and a third-dose booster; and those who had reported previous infection from other COVID-19 variants of concern. The study included samples from 41 individuals who had received three doses of Vaxzevria. The study was performed independently by investigators at the University of Oxford and the findings were posted online on the bioRxiv preprint server, according to the statement.

Data from another laboratory study support Vaxzevria’s effect against Omicron, with individuals vaccinated with two doses of Vaxzevria retaining neutralising activity against Omicron, although a decrease was seen compared to the original strain. In other studies, Vaxzevria has been shown to generate a diverse and durable T-cell response to multiple variants resulting in a broader response than antibodies alone, which could contribute to protection against COVID-19, added the statement.

The statement also notified that the company is collecting real-world evidence evaluating the effectiveness against the Omicron variant with academic groups in the southern African region. It is also analysing blood samples from participants in the company’s phase-II/III trial to evaluate neutralising activity when given as a third-dose booster against Omicron for both Vaxzevria and its investigational next-generation COVID-19 vaccine, AZD2816. Data from these studies are expected soon.

Currently, available data against variants of concern, excluding Omicron, support the use of a third booster with Vaxzevria as part of a homologous or heterologous schedule.

As per the statement, a sub analysis from the COV001 and COV002 trials demonstrated that the third dose of Vaxzevria given at least six months after a second dose boosted antibody levels six-fold and maintained T-cell response. The third dose also resulted in higher neutralising activity against the Alpha, Beta and Delta variants, compared with a two-dose regimen. In the trial, the third dose of Vaxzevria was less reactogenic than the first dose. In addition, the COV-BOOST trial showed that a third dose booster of Vaxzevria induced significantly higher immune responses compared with controls against the Delta variant and original strain following a primary vaccine series of Vaxzevria or Pfizer BioNtech.

AstraZenecaCOVID VaccineCOVID vaccine booster doseDeltaOmicronUniversity of OxfordVaxzevria
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