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AstraZeneca says vaccine against new Covid variants may take six months

Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical firm’s profits rise to $7.4bn as main business ‘remains strong’

AstraZeneca has said it could take between six and nine months to produce Covid-19 vaccines that are effective against new variants of the coronavirus.

The company’s vaccine, developed jointly with scientists at the University of Oxford, remains effective against at least one variant of the virus, first discovered in Kent, England, but preliminary findings in a small-scale trial prompted South Africa to limit its use while it ascertains its efficacy.

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