Protection against moderate-severe disease, hospitalisation or death could not be assessed in this study as the target population were at such low risk.
Work is already underway at the University of Oxford and in conjunction with partners to produce a new version of vaccine which has been adapted to target variants of the coronavirus with mutations similar to B.1.351.
Shabir Madhi, Professor of Vaccinology and Director of the Vaccines & Infectious Diseases Analytics (VIDA) Research Unit at University of the Witwatersrand, and Chief Investigator on the trial in South Africa said:
“Recent data from a study in South Africa sponsored by Janssen which assessed moderate to severe disease, rather than mild disease, using a similar viral vector, indicated that protection against these important disease endpoints was preserved.”
“These findings recalibrate thinking about how to approach the pandemic virus and shift the focus from the goal of herd immunity against transmission to the protection of all at risk individuals in population against severe disease.”