British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca is fighting fights on numerous fronts this week– protecting its coronavirus vaccine from reports that it could be less efficient in protecting the elderly and facing increasing tensions with the EU over its postponed products to the bloc.
On Monday, the drugmaker protected its vaccine from reports in a number of German newspapers, Bild and Handelsblatt, that the AstraZeneca vaccine, developed in conjunction with the University of Oxford, had a low effectiveness rate (of less than 10% and 8%, the documents stated, respectively) in the over-65s, the main target group for having the vaccine as they are more at risk of serious disease and death.
Both pointed out unnamed authorities in Germany’s government as stating that the vaccine had a bad efficacy rate amongst people aged over 65 and said this might affect whether the vaccine is authorized for use amongst the elderly.
AstraZeneca responded Monday evening, saying in a statement: “Reports that the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine effectiveness is as low as 8% in grownups over 65 years are entirely incorrect.”
“In November, we published information in The Lancet showing that older adults revealed strong immune responses to the vaccine, with 100% of older grownups generating spike-specific antibodies after the second dose,” it included.
It stated the U.K.’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which encourages the federal government on its vaccination strategy, had actually supported the vaccine’s use in the elderly. It also stated that strong immune responses to the vaccine had actually been displayed in blood analysis of elderly trial individuals.
Elderly trial participants were confessed later to stage three clinical trials of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which happened in the U.K. and Brazil, and earlier on in South Africa, and so there is less available data on the effectiveness of the shot in the over-65s. Initial trials in the U.K. focused on the under-55s to take a look at whether the vaccine worked for most of health care workers.
When AstraZeneca published its trial findings in the medical journal The Lancet in December, it stated, “as older age groups were recruited behind more youthful age, there has actually been less time for cases to accumulate and as an outcome, efficacy information in these accomplices are currently restricted by the little number of cases, but extra data will be readily available in future analyses.” CNBC has actually gotten in touch with AstraZeneca for comment following the reports.