Lancet Report: Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine Safe, But Questions On Those Above 55

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What comes as good news and holds out hope for millions worldwide, Oxford University and AstraZeneca have published the first peer-reviewed study of phase 3 of clinical trials of their COVID-19 vaccine in the acclaimed Lancet medical journal.

Presenting the pooled analysis of the trials across two dosage regimens, they proved that the vaccine is safe and effective with an average efficacy of 70.4 per cent. Assessed by independent researchers, the study put out the full results from advanced trials of over 20,000 people. For those given two full doses, an efficacy of 62 per cent has been observed as compared to 90 per cent in those given a half then a full dose.

“ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 has an acceptable safety profile and has been found to be efficacious against symptomatic COVID-19 in this interim analysis of ongoing clinical trials,” Lancet journal stated.

In a statement, AstraZeneca said it would be up to regulators to decide based on the data whether people would receive two full doses or a half dose of its vaccine followed by a full dose.

However, experts say detailed analysis will be needed to see how well the vaccine works in people above 55 years of age who are considered to be a high risk group. This because older adults were recruited to the clinical trials later than younger volunteers. “They’ve had less time for cases to accrue in those age groups and for us to be able to measure an efficacy signal,” Andrew Pollard, lead investigator on the Oxford trial, was quoted as saying. “The evidence we have so far on the immune response very much suggests that it’s likely to be similar levels of protection across the ages.”

The pharma major has begun submitting data to regulators around the world for early approval and it is gearing up to deliver hundreds of millions of doses. AstraZeneca is also seeking emergency-use listing from World Health Organization to accelerate the delivery of the vaccine to low-income nations.

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