Large U.S. trial confirms AstraZeneca Covid vaccine’s effectiveness

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A late-stage U.S. trial shows AstraZeneca’s two-dose Covid-19  vaccine having a 79 percent efficacy rate.

The interim safety and efficacy analysis was based on 32,449 participants and could mean the U.S. will see a fourth vaccine option this year. Findings mirror results from previous trials in other nations.

The vaccine comes with advantages that include a low cost per dose and without the need for using a deep freeze to store doses that comes with the Moderna and Pfizer.

The recently approved  Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine has similar efficacy figures.

AstraZeneca has administrative, logistics, and manufacturing operations in Delaware that employ 1,500.

AZ reported vaccine efficacy was consistent across ethnicity and age groups. In participants age 65 years and over, the figure rose to 80 percent.

Vaccinations were temporarily halted in Europe over blood clot issues. The large-scale U.S. trial found no evidence of blood clots.  Vaccinations have now resumed in most European nations.

Not mentioned were concerns over the vaccine’s effectiveness in dealing with variants of Covid-19 that have shown up in other nations.

Ann Falsey, professor of Medicine. at the  University of Rochester School of Medicine, US, and co-lead principal investigator for the trial, said: “These findings reconfirm previous results observed in AZD1222 trials across all adult populations, but it’s exciting to see similar efficacy results in people over 65 for the first time. This analysis validates the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine as a much-needed additional vaccination option, offering confidence that adults of all ages can benefit from protection against the virus.”

“With more and more Americans getting vaccinated every day, we are finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper, who as governor, worked to bring AstraZeneca’s North American Headquarters to Wilmington. “I am hopeful that the positive news coming from AstraZeneca on its coronavirus vaccine means that soon, we will have another tool to fight and finally put this pandemic in our rearview mirror. I am so very proud to call AstraZeneca our hometown team. As we say in the Navy, Bravo Zulu!”

AstraZeneca will continue to analyze the data and prepare for the primary analysis to be submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization in the coming weeks. In parallel, the primary analysis will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Amongst participants in the interim analysis, approximately 79% were white/Caucasian, 8% black/African American, 4 percent Native American and 4 percent Asian, and 22 percent were Hispanic.

About  20 percent of participants were 65 years and over, and approximately 60 percent had underlying conditions such as diabetes, severe obesity, or cardiac disease.

This AstraZeneca-led US Phase III trial included two doses administered at a four-week interval.

Previous trials have shown that an extended interval of up to 12 weeks demonstrated greater effectiveness. This evidence suggests administration of the second dose with an interval longer than four weeks could further increase efficacy and accelerate the number of people who can receive their first dose.

Delaware and other states have to consider vaccine supplies for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to ensure second doses within a one-month period.

The US Phase III trial was led by AstraZeneca and funded by the U.S. government.

The vaccine has been granted conditional marketing authorization for emergency use in more than 70 countries across six continents. The Emergency Use Listing, granted by the World Health Organization, accelerates the pathway to access in up to 142 countries through the COVAX Facility.

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