Covid breakthrough: UK has already developed vaccine to stop South African variant

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Robin Shattock, a professor at Imperial College London’s department of infectious disease, told the BBC’s Today Programme that his team is working on a new vaccine that will target the South Africa coronavirus variant. Professor Shattock added that it is quite a fast process to produce a new vaccine as it takes a period of just three weeks.

The BBC’s Mishal Husain asked: “You have been working on an RNA vaccine that would target the new variant?”

Professor Shattock said: “Absolutely, ourselves and also vaccine searchers around the world are looking at these new variants and making new vaccine candidates against them so we can study them in the laboratory.

“That is quite a fast process we can go from serious changes to making a vaccine in a laboratory in a period of about three weeks.”

The Today Programme host replied: “Do you have one already?”

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Professor Shattock said: “We have one already and we starting to look at the immune response to that to see whether it makes it more effective against for example the South African strain.”

He added: “We can make these vaccines in the lab in a three-week process but then to get them manufactured it would take two to three months.

“That is still quite fast, but we do need to remember that more changes might occur.

“These vaccines will not go from working well to not working at all so a three-month period to provide an update and develop a booster strategy is quite effective.”

More to follow…

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