The COVID-19 vaccine candidate being developed by drugmaker AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford is safe and effective and protects against severe disease and hospitalization, according to a study showing the full data from a late-stage clinical trial. The peer-reviewed study, published in medical journal The Lancet on Tuesday, showed average efficacy of 70.4% in a pooled analysis of interim data based on 11,636 volunteers in trials across the U.K. and Brazil. The experimental vaccine’s efficacy was 62.1% for those given two full doses, but rose to 90% in a subgroup of trial participants who were given a half dose, then a full dose. The 70% average efficacy rate is higher than what is needed to be authorized in the U.S., but is also significantly lower than the 94% and higher efficacy rates reported by biotech Moderna and drugmaker Pfizer and its partner BioNTech for their COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
A U.S. study of AstraZeneca’s vaccine involving around 30,000 volunteers is currently in progress, and should deliver data by late January. AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said the drugmaker had begun submitting data to regulatory authorities around the world to seek early approval of the shot. “Our global supply chains are up and running, ready to quickly begin delivering hundreds of millions of doses on a global scale at no profit,” he said in a statement issued by the University of Oxford.
California Becomes Biggest U.S. State to Launch Virus Contact-Tracing App
California on Monday announced an app to help people track their exposure to the coronavirus, becoming the biggest U.S. state to take advantage of new technology from smartphone software makers Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google. Beginning on Thursday, people in California can activate the exposure notifications tool from the settings menu on iPhones or by downloading the CA Notify App in the Google Play store on Android devices.
The apps enable Bluetooth signals between devices to determine when they are in close proximity, and the apps then anonymously alert users when a recent contact later tests positive. At least 6 million people in the United States have tried the system in recent months across the 21 states and two territories that made apps available before California. Colorado and New York are among other states with apps.