While supply constraints have hung over the rollout of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Europe, last week, CEO Pascal Soriot offered one-way officials could make the most of available doses. And now AZ has more data to support the idea. Speaking with reporters after AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine scored a European authorization last week, Soriot pointed out that the label allows the second dose to be administered between 4 and 12 weeks after the first.
Officials could use all available doses to vaccinate as many people as possible now, he suggested, without reserving booster doses. Before 12 weeks passed, more supplies would arrive to cover the boosters and start a new round of vaccinations. In fact, waiting could be even better. New data show the vaccine was 54.9% effective in trial participants who received their second standard dose within 6 weeks of the first. For those who got a second standard dose 12 weeks or more after the first, efficacy was a much higher 82.4%. Plus, waiting wouldn’t be a big risk. A standard dose of the vaccine is 76% effective between 22 days and 90 days after the first dose, which means people would be protected while waiting for their boosters. The analysis, which drew on data from an ongoing U.K. trial, was published in Preprints with The Lancet.
BD Secures European Approval for COVID-19 Blood Test to Predict Which Patients May Need a Ventilator
BD has launched a new COVID-19 blood test in Europe that can help hospitals identify incoming patients that may be more likely to require intensive care with a ventilator and carry a higher risk of death from the disease. The diagnostic evaluates the status of the person’s immune system by gauging the amounts of specific types of white blood cells.
The test kit “may help clinicians better determine an appropriate course of action for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, which is a top priority for this population,” said Puneet Sarin, worldwide president of BD Biosciences, and that the diagnostic can also help preserve medical resources. Certain patients with COVID-19 may have lower levels of CD4 and CD8 T cells, which help regulate the immune system and fight off infections. Clinical studies have shown that decreased T-cell counts are associated with increased risks and the need for intubation and breathing support with a mechanical ventilator.