The beleaguered AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine got a big shot in the arm, so to speak, today with results of the latest clinical trial which showed the vaccine is 79% effective against the virus. Previous studies pegged the AstraZeneca vaccine with an efficacy of 67%. Best of all, the latest trials reconfirmed what earlier ones did: AstraZeneca’s vaccine is 100% effective at preventing severe disease and hospitalization from COVID-19.
The latest Phase III trial was conducted in the U.S., Chile, and Peru and encompassed 32,000 participants, 21,583 of those receiving at least one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine (the others received a placebo). Perhaps even better than the improved efficacy rating, the latest trial continued to show that there were no safety concerns related to the vaccine. Furthermore, an independent data safety monitoring board found no evidence of thrombotic events (such as blood clots) in the 21,583 people who received at least one dose of the vaccine.
The results of this trial are good news both for the vaccine maker as well as the general public. Last week several countries paused the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after concerns of possible blood clotting issues arose. While some scientists believe they have found a link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare cases of blood clotting in the brain, they also say there is now an easy way to treat such a side effect should it occur.
AstraZeneca says it will submit the findings of its latest trials to a scientific journal for peer review. The data for its latest Phase III trials will also be sent to the Food and Drug Administration in order to support its application for approval of the vaccine’s emergency authorization so it can be rolled out in America. Unlike other COVID-19 vaccines, AstraZeneca’s vaccine can be stored in ordinary refrigerators; others require much colder temperatures.