Britain first country to approve human use of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

The approval comes in the backdrop of a surge in cases in UK following the detection of a virulent strain of the SARS-CoV-2

Britain on Wednesday (December 30) gave the green signal to the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, for human use.

“The government has today accepted the recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to authorise Oxford University/AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for use,” Reuters quoted the health ministry as saying in a statement.

The approval by Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) means the vaccine is both safe and effective.

It comes amid the detection of a virulent strain of SARS-CoV-2 in the country, prompting several countries to ban flights to Britain.

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has already lining up thousands of medics and volunteers to be ready to deliver jabs up and down the country.

The development comes as a senior UK scientist pinpointed the Oxford vaccine as a real game-changer, which could see the country achieve herd immunity as a result of vaccination against the deadly virus by the summer months of 2021.

“The people that have been vaccinated will be protected within a matter of weeks and that’s very important,” Professor Calum Semple, a respiratory disease expert and member of the governments Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), told the BBC.

According to PTI, Britain has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine, with 40 million expected to be available by the end of March.

AstraZeneca chief Pascal Soriot has stressed that researchers have found the “winning formula” using two doses of the vaccine, ahead of the final results being published. He has raised hopes that the jabs are more effective than first thought and should be effective against a new variant of the coronavirus that is now causing havoc in most parts of the UK.

The vaccine, which is being manufactured in India by Serum Institute of India, is being considered for emergency use by the regulatory body.

(With inputs from agencies)