AstraZeneca will likely retest its COVID-19 vaccine, CEO says after admitting an error in the first trial that may have skewed results
3 min read
2 months ago
The UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is likely to run a second global trial to assess its COVID-19 vaccine's efficacy, its CEO told Bloomberg News on Thursday.
AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford announced Monday that preliminary results indicated their two-dose vaccine could be up to 90% effective at preventing COVID-19.
But the team later said an error in the trial left some participants with half-doses instead of full doses.
Experts said that error cast doubt on the validity of the efficacy rate and warranted further study.
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Experts' trust in the validity of AstraZeneca's reported COVID-19 vaccine data has quickly eroded.
AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford said on Monday that their coronavirus vaccine was found to be up to 90% effective based on preliminary results from studies of 23,000 volunteers in Brazil and the UK.
But reports of an error during its initial trial prompted a barrage of questions.
On Thursday, the pharmaceutical company's CEO, Pascal Soriot, acknowledged the concerns and said it would likely conduct a second trial of the two-dose vaccine, Bloomberg News first reported Thursday.
"Now that we've found what looks like a better efficacy we have to validate this, so we need to do an additional study," Soriot told Bloomberg News.
The error meant about 2,700 participants got 1 1/2 vaccine doses instead of the intended two. That actually resulted in a higher efficacy rate in that group than among those who got the prescribed amount.
Soriot said that to clarify this discrepancy and meet the public-health community's demand for more data, AstraZeneca would likely run another "international study" to examine the strength of the half-dose/full-dose regimen among more participants.
"But this one could be faster because we know the efficacy is high so we need a smaller number of patients," he added.
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