AstraZeneca and Oxford University's COVID-19 vaccine was 79% effective in a large US trial at preventing symptomatic illness, and was 100% effective against severe or critical disease and hospitalisation, the drugmaker said on Monday.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine is 100 per cent effective at keeping people out of hospital, a U.S. study has confirmed. A total of 141 cases of symptomatic COVID-19 were recorded.
The company is preparing to submit its findings to the US Food and Drug Administration to authorize the shot for emergency use.
What did the vaccine developers say?
"This is a vaccine that we are making available to the European Union and the world through our taxpayer investment, over 21 million in the research, in Oxford University at no profit".
The recent trial was run by experts in the USA, and should also provide more confidence for nations around the world to keep using the vaccine.
Ann Falsey, professor of medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in the U.S., and co-lead principal investigator for the trial, said it was "exciting to see similar efficacy results in people over 65 for the first time".
But a small trial suggesting the shot offered minimal protection against mild to moderate illness caused by the 501Y.V2 Covid variant dominant in the country, put the brakes on the country's mass inoculation programme.
A statement by health minister Zweli Mkhize relayed on social media said "all member states identified by the AU vaccines acquisition teams as recipients of the vaccines were compliant and had obtained all regulatory approvals, permits and licences to roll out the vaccines in their respective countries".
Scientists had been waiting for the results of the latest study in hope that it would clear up some of the confusion about the efficacy of the shot.
One Twitter follower of Ms von der Leyen tweeted: "Perhaps if the European Union had ordered earlier it wouldn't have to threaten and bully?"
European leaders will meet on Thursday to decide whether to press ahead with a vaccine export ban after European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday said British-headquartered AstraZeneca was at risk of breaching its supply obligations to European countries.
The company said that, with the help of an independent neurologist, it specifically examined the US trial data for information regarding blood clots, or thrombosis, and found no safety concerns. It acts like a Trojan horse to carry the coronavirus's spike protein's genetic material into the body that in turn produces some harmless protein.
In the trials, 21,583 participants received two doses of the vaccine four weeks apart.
Amongst participants in the interim analysis, about 79% were white/Caucasian, 8% black/African American, 4% native American and 4% Asian, and 22% of participants were Hispanic, the company said.
Some 20% of the participants were 65 or older, and about 60% had health conditions associated with a higher risk, such as diabetes, severe obesity or heart disease.
Despite regulators saying that there is no evidence linking the blood clotting to the AstraZeneca vaccine, several countries, including Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, have suspended its use.
As of Thursday, March 18, MI had administered 3.4 million doses to about 2.2 million residents.
The British government this weekend hailed its vaccination programme as "a huge success" after announcing that half of the adult population - almost 27 million people - have received a first dose.
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