AstraZeneca vaccine is 76% effective against symptomatic Covid, latest trial data says

Boris Johnson warns against ‘long term damage’ of vaccine blockades
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AstraZeneca has revised the efficacy rate for its Covid-19 jab down to 76 per cent after US regulators expressed concern the figures were based on “outdated information.”

On Monday the company announced that the vaccine was 79 per cent effective after an interim analysis of its US trial that included more than 32,000 people.

But just a day later the US Data and Safety Monitoring Board expressed concerns that AstraZeneca may have provided an incomplete view of its efficacy data.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical adviser, said the company’s interpretation of the trial results seemed to be “in my mind ... an unforced error”.

In its statement on Thursday, the drugmaker said the latest analysis confirms “vaccine efficacy consistent with the pre-specified interim analysis” announced on Monday.

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AstraZeneca’s Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of biopharmaceutical research and development, said: “The primary analysis is consistent with our previously released interim analysis, and confirms that our Covid-19 vaccine is highly effective in adults, including those aged 65 years and over.

“We look forward to filing our regulatory submission for Emergency Use Authorisation in the US and preparing for the rollout of millions of doses across America.”

The firm said its vaccine has 100% efficacy against severe or critical disease and hospitalisation due to coronavirus and is 85% effective against symptomatic Covid-19 in patients aged 65 years and over.

AstraZeneca said the trial’s results had been presented to the US Data and Safety Monitoring Board and would be the basis for a regulatory submission for emergency use to the US Food and Drug Administration in coming weeks.

It comes amid a bruising few weeks for the pharmaceutical firm after its vaccine was temporarily stopped for use in multiple countries after concerns over blood clots and questions raised over the vaccine’s effectiveness in older people.

A number of European countries have since started using the AstraZeneca jab in their vaccine rollouts after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it was safe.

Alongside that tensions have been simmering with the EU who have accused the company of reneging on its contract and only providing a quarter of the 120 million doses it had promised so far.

The company denies it is failing to honour its contract with the EU.

In its statement AstraZeneca said it hopes the jab will protect against severe disease from all coronavirus variants and that the European Medicines Agency, the World Health Organisation and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have all declared it safe and effective.

Oxford is currently carrying out a clinical trial on children to test the safety and efficacy of the shot in younger age groups, with initial results expected in the summer.

Additional reporting by PA

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