Feb. 8, 2021 -- The COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca doesn’t appear to work well against the coronavirus variant identified in South Africa, prompting health officials to stop using the vaccine in the country.

Scientists from the vaccine’s clinical trial said it didn’t protect participants from mild or moderate COVID-19, according to The New York Times. Previous infection from earlier versions of the coronavirus also didn’t seem to protect people from reinfection with the variant known as B.1.351.

“These results are very much a reality check,” Shabir Madhi, PhD, a virologist who ran the vaccine trial in South Africa, told reporters on Sunday.

In the clinical trial, about 2,000 participants received two doses of the vaccine or placebo shots. In the vaccine group, 19 were infected with the new variant. In the placebo group, 20 people were infected with the new variant. The minimal difference suggests that the vaccine doesn’t protect against the new variant.

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