Britain tries to cool AstraZeneca concerns, CEO touts new vaccine trial

A person signs a sign at an AstraZeneca site in Macclesfield, central England.

Phil Noble | Reuters

LONDON – Government ministers and experts in Britain have openly supported the coronovirus vaccine from AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, following suspicion in the US this week.

Housing Minister Robert Generich became the latest in a line of people commenting on the vaccine, which has shown an average of 70% effectiveness in preventing the virus.

“I don’t think there’s any reason he’s not worried,” he told Sky News on Friday morning. “We have now written to the body that will independently assess the safety and security of the vaccine.”

The UK government’s top scientific advisor, Patrick Valence, said the focus should be on the fact that the vaccine actually works when asked about doubts about the test.

“The title result is the work of the vaccine and it’s very exciting,” Valence said during a news conference on Thursday. Chief Medical Advisor Chris Whitty echoed his remarks at the same conference, saying there was always scientific debate about almost everything.

“The important thing from our point of view is to leave it in the hands of the regulator … They will do an assessment with a lot of data that is not currently in the public domain on efficacy and safety,” Whitty said.

Rollout next month

The UK has asked its drug regulator to assess the vaccine for temporary supplies, which could mean it will roll out in the country before the end of the year. Four million doses may be used next month in the UK but concerns in the US may mean a much later rollout.

The figure of 70% comes from a combination of a small group of people who received an unexpectedly low dose of the vaccine, which produced 90% efficacy, and a large group who received a high dose, only 62. % Showing effectiveness.

Criticize america

Monsep Saloi, head of the White House’s Operation Tana Speed, and others in the US have expressed concern over the tested age group, saying that 90% of efficacy was shown only for the lowest-risk group, which was 55 There were 2,741 people under the age of one year.

John LaMattina, former president of Pfizer Global R & D, said on Tuesday that it was “hard to believe” that the FDA would release the EUA for a vaccine whose optimal dose has been given to only 2,300 people.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot confirmed to Bloomberg on Thursday that the British pharmaceutical giant would run an additional global trial to evaluate the efficacy of its Kovid-19 vaccine.

AstraZeneca reaction

The company has insisted on monitoring the study by the External Data Security Monitoring Board (DSMB) against criticism and highlighted the fact that the data released on Monday has only interim results and more data will follow.

It has emphasized that the “highest standards” were used and that “additional analysis will be done.”

This particular vaccine is considered important for emerging markets because of its relative ease of manufacturing and transportation, and has lower costs than potential competitors.

AstraZeneca has stated that its vaccines can be stored, transported and handled in normal refrigerated conditions (36–46 ° F) for at least six months and administered within existing health care settings. It has pledged to distribute the vaccine “for the duration of an epidemic” to no avail.

Shares of AstraZeneca sank again on Friday and fell by almost 7% after its test results were released on Monday morning.

—CNBC’s Sam Meredith contributed to this article.

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