AstraZeneca says its coronavirus vaccine 76% effective in United States phase-3 trial

Tanya Simon
March 26, 2021

The vaccine still worked well across all age groups in the updated results, with an estimated effectiveness of 85 percent in people over 65 years old, AstraZeneca said. As with Monday's data, the company has released them via news release and not in a peer-reviewed report or as a formal submission for US Food and Drug Administration review.

This new efficacy analysis included the accrual of 190 symptomatic cases of Covid-19 from the 32,449 trial participants, an additional 49 cases to the previously announced interim analysis, AstraZeneca said.

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

NIAID urged the company to work with the monitoring panel to review the efficacy data and ensure the most accurate, up-to-date version be made public as quickly as possible.

A health worker prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, during a mass vaccination campaign at San Pedro Hospital, in Logrono, northern Spain.

Some US scientists plan to wait for the FDA analysis, rather than judge the vaccine's merits based another press release, "just to avoid any further roller coaster rides", said Dr Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious disease expert at Boston Medical Centre.

The release of the interim results caused a bit of a media storm this week, as it appeared AstraZeneca had jumped the gun announcing its results, perhaps to mitigate the recent concerns surrounding blood clots and the vaccine - which European Union regulators ultimately found was not linked.

The vaccine appears especially protective against the worst outcomes, with no severe illnesses or hospitalisations among vaccinated study volunteers compared to eight severe cases among those given dummy shots, the company said.

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Health Canada is updating the label on the AstraZeneca-Oxford and Covishield COVID-19 vaccines to add information about "very rare reports of blood clots associated with low levels of blood platelets", but says the shot remains safe and that the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh the risks.

"The vaccine was well tolerated, and no safety concerns related to the vaccine were identified".

Earlier Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top USA infectious disease expert, told reporters he hoped that when all the data was publicly vetted by federal regulators, it would dispel any hesitancy caused by the spat.

Among researchers working to develop vaccines, treatments and other weapons against Covid-19, the frustration is evident.

It was the first immunization out of the gate in the western world, going into the arms of volunteers on January 4.

However, the health department said it had assessed the available data and has determined that the vaccine has not been associated with an increase in the overall risk of thrombosis.

The European Medicines Agency has since said there's no evidence the vaccine can cause blood clots.

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