A healthcare worker preparing a vaccination.

Trial data: AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine protects 100% against severe disease, hospitalization

Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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The COVID vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford provided 79% vaccine efficacy at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 and 100% efficacy against severe or critical disease and hospitalization, according to results of its Phase III trial, AstraZeneca announced today.

The trial involved 32,449 participants. Vaccine efficacy was consistent across ethnicity and age. Notably, in participants aged 65 years old and older, vaccine efficacy was 80%.

The company also said its experts did not identify any safety concerns related to the vaccine, including finding no increased risk of rare blood clots identified recently in Europe.

AstraZeneca said the vaccine was well tolerated, and the independent data safety monitoring board identified no safety concerns related to the vaccine. The DSMB conducted a specific review of thrombotic events, as well as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or CVST with the assistance of an independent neurologist. The DSMB found no increased risk of thrombosis or events characterized by thrombosis among the 21,583 participants receiving at least one dose of the vaccine. The specific search for CVST found no events in this trial, the company said.

“These findings reconfirm previous results observed in AZD1222 trials across all adult populations but it’s exciting to see similar efficacy results in people over 65 for the first time," said Ann Falsey, professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and co-lead principal Investigator for the trial. "This analysis validates the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as a much-needed additional vaccination option, offering confidence that adults of all ages can benefit from protection against the virus.”

“These results add to the growing body of evidence that shows this vaccine is well tolerated and highly effective against all severities of COVID-19 and across all age groups," said Mene Pangalos, executive vice president, BioPharmaceuticals R&D. "We are confident this vaccine can play an important role in protecting millions of people worldwide against this lethal virus. We are preparing to submit these findings to the Food and Drug Administration and for the rollout of millions of doses across America should the vaccine be granted U.S. emergency use authorization.”

AstraZeneca said it will continue to analyze the data and prepare for the primary analysis to be submitted to the FDA for emergency use authorization in the coming weeks. In parallel, the primary analysis will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Amongst participants in the interim analysis, approximately 79% were white/Caucasian, 8% black/African American, 4% native American and 4% Asian, and 22% of participants were Hispanic.

Approximately 20% of participants were 65 years and over, and approximately 60% had co-morbidities associated with an increased risk for progression of severe COVID-19, such as diabetes, severe obesity or cardiac disease.

This AstraZeneca trial included two doses administered at a four week interval. Previous trials have shown that an extended interval of up to 12 weeks demonstrated greater efficacy, which was also supported by immunogenicity data. This evidence suggests administration of the second dose with an interval longer than four weeks could further increase efficacy and accelerates the number of people who can receive their first dose, according to the company.

The vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2 degrees to 8 degrees Celsius or 36 degrees to 46 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least six months and administered without the need for preparation within existing healthcare settings.