US may authorise AstraZeneca Covid vaccine for emergency use in April

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Dec 31, 2020, 09:19 AM(IST)

A test tube labeled with the vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020 Photograph:( Reuters )

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British regulators approved AstraZeneca's vaccine Wednesday, the first country in the world to do so, based in part on unpublished data.

The COVID-19 vaccine developed by British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc and Oxford University will likely be authorised for emergency use in the United States in April.

British regulators approved AstraZeneca's vaccine Wednesday, the first country in the world to do so, based in part on unpublished data.

Operation Warp Speed chief advisor Dr Moncef Slaoui Wednesday said recruitment for the British drugmaker's late-stage US trial is almost complete with over 29,000 participants enrolled.

Several scientists have raised doubts about the robustness of results from its British and Brazilian trials, showing the shot was 90 per cent effective in a sub-group of trial participants. That group, by error initially, received a half dose followed by a full dose. But the efficacy was 62% if the full dose was given twice, as it was for most participants.

Slaoui said it would ultimately be up to the US Food and Drug Administration as to how to evaluate the vaccine for US authorisation.

The chief advisor was also cautious about whether the United States should implement similar guidance as the UK regulators to space out the second dose of Pfizer Inc's by as much as 12 weeks, longer than what was studied in clinical trials.

Officials said that 14 million doses of Pfizer's and Moderna's have been distributed to states, short of their goal to send enough doses to vaccinate 20 million Americans this month. Only about 2 million Americans have been vaccinated thus far and officials said they were still studying why immunisations were slower than they anticipated.

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