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AstraZeneca says it is working on an Omicron vaccine with Oxford

Click to play video: 'Slowing down the spread of Omicron with boosters' Slowing down the spread of Omicron with boosters
WATCH: Slowing down the spread of Omicron with boosters – Dec 21, 2021

AstraZeneca Plc said on Tuesday it is working with Oxford University to produce a vaccine for the Omicron coronavirus variant, joining other vaccine-makers who are looking to develop the variant-specific vaccine.

“Together with Oxford University, we have taken preliminary steps in producing an Omicron variant vaccine, in case it is needed and will be informed by emerging data,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement.

Read more: Provinces take new measures to stem impact of Omicron variant

Oxford did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside business hours.

The Financial Times first reported the news, citing Sandy Douglas, a research group leader at Oxford.

“Adenovirus-based vaccines (such as that made by Oxford/AstraZeneca) could in principle be used to respond to any new variant more rapidly than some may previously have realized,” Douglas told FT.

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A lab-study last week found that AstraZeneca’s antibody cocktail Evusheld retained neutralizing activity against the Omicron variant.

Vaccine makers Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna also previously said they were working on Omicron- specific COVID-19 vaccines. Moderna said hopes to start clinical trials early next year.

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