Japanese researchers have begun a study to measure the effectiveness of a coronavirus vaccine against variants of the virus.
A research team at Yokohama City University is looking at the efficacy of a vaccine that is currently being administered in Japan.
The researchers have collected blood samples from 100 people who have received the vaccine. They will study the function of antibodies that neutralize the coronavirus using new techniques they have developed. They say the results will be available within 3 hours.
The neutralizing antibodies are believed to weaken viral activities and prevent further infections.
The more antibodies a person has, the stronger the immune function becomes.
The research team plans to look at the vaccine's efficacy against several variants that are spreading in Britain, South Africa, Brazil and Japan. The team says if a new variant is detected, it will be added to the list.
Professor Yamanaka Takeharu, a member of the research group, says the effectiveness of a vaccine will need to be assessed in a timely manner as the coronavirus can mutate at amazing speed.
He says that knowing the effectiveness of a vaccine based on data obtained in Japan will help the authorities to determine what measures are needed.