According to AstraZeneca, the updated COVID vaccine report still shows it is highly effective

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AstraZeneca insisted late Wednesday that its COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective even after including additional diseases in its controversial U.S. study, the latest in an extraordinary public conflict with American officials.

In a nightly press release, the UK drug maker said it had recalculated the data from this advanced study and concluded that the vaccine is 76% effective against symptomatic COVID-19, instead of the 79% it was initially the week claimed.

Just a day earlier, an independent panel overseeing the study had accused AstraZeneca of collecting cherry harvest data to announce the protection of its vaccine. In a tough letter to the company and to leading U.S. health officials, the panel said the company had left out some COVID-19 cases that appeared in the study. This could undermine trust in science.

Data disputes during ongoing trials usually remain confidential, but in an unusual move, the National Institutes of Health publicly urged AstraZeneca to resolve the discrepancy.

AstraZeneca had relied on results from a largely US study of 32,000 people to restore confidence in a vaccine that, despite its widespread use in the UK, Europe and other countries, had a problematic rollout. Previous studies have shown inconsistent data on its effectiveness, and then last week a Fear of blood clots had put vaccinations on hold in some countries.

The question now is whether the company’s latest calculations will put an end to the tension.

On the previous Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading U.S. infectious disease expert, told reporters that he hoped a public review of all data by federal regulators would allay the hesitation caused by the spitting. He predicted it would “turn out to be a good vaccine”.

Paul Griffin, a professor at the University of Queensland in Australia, told Reuters news service, “This appears to be a very effective vaccine with no safety concerns. Hopefully this should give people confidence now that this vaccine is the right one.” keep moving forward. “

William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told Reuters, “The vaccine’s effectiveness against serious diseases, including death, puts the AstraZeneca vaccine on par with the other vaccines.”

AstraZeneca’s latest calculations were based on 190 COVID-19 cases that occurred during the study, 49 more than at the beginning of the week. The vaccine appears to be particularly protective against the worst of outcomes, as vaccinated subjects did not experience serious illness or hospitalization, compared to eight severe cases in placebo patients, the company said. There was no breakdown of the remaining cases.

The European authorities had questioned how protective the vaccine is in older adults. In the US study, it was 85% effective in volunteers aged 65 and over, the company said. The study did not reveal any safety concerns.

The updated information “confirms that our COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective in adults, including those aged 65 and over,” AstraZeneca’s chief research officer Mene Pangalos said in a statement. He said the company looks forward to “rolling out millions of cans across America”.

The study has not ended, so additional COVID-19 cases may arise. AstraZeneca warned that 14 more possible cases are already being investigated, which could lead to further changes to the data.

The company intends to seek clearance of the vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration within a few weeks. The FDA will publicly discuss any evidence with its outside advisors before making a decision.

Vanderbilt Schaffner expects emergency clearance to be given.

AstraZeneca worked with scientists from Oxford University to develop its vaccine.

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