The coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford is 79% effective in preventing symptomatic illness and 100% effective against severe disease and hospitalisation, results from a long-awaited clinical trial of the jab in the United States showed.
Announced in a news release from AstraZeneca Monday, the safety and efficacy analysis of the vaccine was based on 32,449 participants from a Phase 3 trial. Though the effectiveness falls short of the mark set by American firms Moderna and Pfizer, whose Covid-19 shots were found to be 94% and 95% effective respectively, the results are higher than observed in previous clinical trials.
More so, the trial showed that the jab offered strong protection for older people, who had not been as well-represented in earlier studies, and there were no safety issues regarding blood clots.
The findings may help improve global confidence in the embattled AstraZeneca vaccine as they come shortly after several countries, most of which are in Europe, temporarily suspended the use of the shot following reports of blood clots in some vaccinated people.
Health experts including the World Health Organisation and European Medicines Agency sharply criticised the move, citing a lack of data. The EMA conducted a review of the vaccine, which showed conclusive results that the jab is safe and effective.
Some countries that paused its use are already starting to deploy the vaccine again. Germany, France, Italy, and Spain are among those to have resumed use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after findings from the European drug regulator.
The WHO and the International Society on Thrombosis and Hemostasis have also backed the Astra vaccine, recommending that countries continue to use the jab.
Following the findings, AstraZeneca is now preparing to apply for emergency authorisation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it said Monday.
The vaccine has already been approved and is being deployed in several countries but clearance from American regulators would bolster its appeal globally.