A large US trial published on Monday found that the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is 79 percent effective in preventing symptomatic illness and 100% effective against severe disease and hospitalization. The study group included older people and none of the study volunteers who were vaccinated were hospitalized or developed severe disease.
This data follows the vaccine’s temporary suspension in certain EU countries after reports of it causing blood clots in some vaccinated people, which WHO has disputed, recommending that vaccination distribution may be a step closer.
AstraZeneca said it will seek clearance in the United States “in the coming weeks,” putting it on track to the country’s fourth COVID vaccine to receive emergency use authorization and joining those from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson already in use.
The study noted that 141 COVID-19 cases were reported in the 30,000-person trial, but officials declined to tell reporters during a news conference Monday how many were in study volunteers who received the vaccine and how many in those who got dummy shots. Two-thirds of the volunteers received vaccines.
“These findings reconfirm previous results observed,” said Ann Falsey, of the University of Rochester School of Medicine, who helped lead the trial. “It’s exciting to see similar efficacy results in people over 65 for the first time.”
An FDA advisory committee will publicly debate the evidence behind the shots before the agency decides whether to allow emergency use. Ruud Dobber, an AstraZeneca executive vice president, said that if the FDA OK’s the vaccine, the company will deliver 30 million doses immediately — and another 20 million within the first month.