Unlike the last few weeks, 'vaccine Monday' has become 'vaccine Tuesday', as the Britain's "V-Day" vaccinations grabbed headlines earlier, and now the country's most promising project - the AstraZeneca-Oxford jab - has published peer-reviewed data in the Lancet purporting to show that the shot is safe and effective. However, many questions about its efficacy and safety remain, and if anything, the data suggests that more research on the jab is needed.
Despite this, researchers confirmed they will now submit their data to regulators for approval to deploy the vaccine in mass immunization campaigns across the UK, Brazil, India and countries in Europe, among other places.
Still, the peer-reviewed study, which can be found here, declared that the vaccine "has an acceptable safety profile and has been found to be efficacious against symptomatic COVID-19".
Data also showed there were four case of Bell's Palsy among the vaccine group (that's a condition characterized by facial paralysis).
Just out @TheLancet: @AstraZeneca @UniofOxford vaccine interim trial results— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) December 8, 2020
—Higher efficacy w/ low dose looks real, not likely statistical
—1 case of transverse myelitis troubling
—Transmission suppressed👇https://t.co/k5esfui2h6 pic.twitter.com/QC1s1nMpFf
What's more, the data published Tuesday showed the no patients over 55 were in the group that received the half-dose to start - which appeared to be the most effective combination.
Given the fact that only 20% of the patients in the global trials were over the age of 55, questions remain about the vaccine's efficacy among elderly patients.
The partial data was culled from trials of the vaccine in the UK, Brazil and South Africa: safety results on 23,745 participants and protection levels on 11,636. The results can be difficult to interpret - just look at all the different dosing groups - because of mistake which led some participants to receive a half dose followed by a full one rather than two full doses as intended. That mistake was later heralded as a happy accident because the group appeared to show much higher levels of efficacy. But all of this needs more study considering the number of patients that received this combo was smaller than all the other groups (only 1,367).
Researchers claim the vaccine protected against disease in 62% of those given two full doses and in 90% of those initially given just the half dose, followed by a full dose. However, independent experts have said the second group was too small — 2,741 people — to judge the possible value of that approach and that more testing is needed. The half-dose group also didn’t include anyone over 55, and among others in the study, only about 20% were in that age group.
What's more, unlike Moderna and Pfizer, the AstraZeneca vaccine (which uses a different method) was found to be just 62% effective for all volunteers who received two doses. While a small group of trial participants who received
The news follows a detailed report on the Pfizer vaccine released by the FDA.
Read the full report below: