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Phase III clinical trials show AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine very effective


Primary analysis of Phase III clinical trials of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine conducted in the UK, Brazil and South Africa showed the vaccine is safe. There have been no hospitalisations in more than 22 days after the first shot was administered.

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The results were published in The Lancet.

Results demonstrated 76 per cent efficacy of the vaccine after the first dose, and with an inter-dose interval of 12 weeks or more, the vaccine’s efficiency rose to 82 per cent.

The report also showed the vaccine’s potential to reduce asymptomatic transmission of the virus, based on weekly swabs obtained from volunteers in the UK trial.

Data showed that PCR positive readings dropped by 67 per cent after a single dose, and 50 per cent after a two-dose regimen.

The primary analysis was based on 17,177 participants, including 332 symptomatic cases, from the Phase III UK (COV002), Brazil (COV003) and South Africa (COV005) trials led by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. This study included an extra 201 cases.

Sir Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of BioPharmaceuticals R&D, said: "This primary analysis reconfirms that our vaccine prevents severe disease and keeps people out of the hospital. Also, extending the dosing interval not only boosts the vaccine's efficacy but also enables more people to be vaccinated upfront. Together with the new findings, we believe this vaccine will have a real impact on the pandemic."

Professor Andrew Pollard, chief investigator of the vaccine trial and co-author of the paper, said: "These new data provide important verification of the interim data that has helped regulators such as the MHRA in the UK and elsewhere around the world to grant the vaccine emergency use authorisation.

“It also helps support the policy recommendation made by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation for a 12-week prime-boost interval, as they look for the optimal approach to roll out and reassures us that people are protected 22 days after a single dose of the vaccine."

Data will continue to be analysed and shared with regulators around the world to support their ongoing rolling reviews for emergency supply or conditional approval during the health crisis. AstraZeneca is also seeking Emergency Use Listing from the World Health Organisation for an accelerated pathway to vaccine availability in low-income countries.

The vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2 to 8 degrees Celsius) for at least six months and administered within existing healthcare settings.

AstraZeneca continues to engage with governments, international organisations and collaborators around the world to ensure broad and equitable access to the vaccine at no profit for the duration of the pandemic.

In addition to the programme led by Oxford University, AstraZeneca is conducting a large trial in the US and globally. In total, Oxford University and AstraZeneca expect to enrol up to 60,000 participants globally.

The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has already been granted a conditional marketing authorisation or emergency use in close to 50 countries, spanning four continents including in the EU, several Latin American countries, India, Morocco and the UK.

Published : February 06, 2021

By : THE NATION