AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine provided strong protection against disease and complete protection against hospitalization and death across all age groups in a late-stage US study, the company announced Monday. AstraZeneca said its experts also identified no safety concerns related to the vaccine, including a rare blood clot that had thought to be linked in Europe, per the AP. The US study comprised more than 30,000 volunteers, of whom two-thirds were given the vaccine, while the rest got dummy shots. In a statement, AstraZeneca said its COVID-19 vaccine had a 79% efficacy rate at preventing symptomatic COVID and was 100% effective in stopping severe disease and hospitalization. Scientists found no increased risk of clots among the more than 20,000 people who got at least one dose of the AstraZeneca shot. Investigators said the vaccine was effective across all ages, including older people—which previous studies in other countries had failed to establish.
Julian Tang, a University of Leicester virologist unconnected to the study, described it as "good news" for the AstraZeneca vaccine. "Now the US clinical trial has confirmed the efficacy of this vaccine in their own clinical trials," he said. Although AstraZeneca's vaccine has been authorized in more than 50 countries, it hasn't yet been given the green light in the US. Last week, more than a dozen countries temporarily suspended their use of the AstraZeneca shot after reports it was linked to blood clots. On Thursday, the European Medicines Agency concluded that the vaccine didn't raise the overall risk of blood clots, but it couldn't rule out that the vaccine was connected to two very rare types of clots. France, Germany, Italy, and other nations subsequently resumed their use of the shot on Friday. The early findings from the US study are just one set of information AstraZeneca must submit to the FDA before the agency decides whether to allow emergency use of the vaccine.
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