The pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford report that their vaccine prevented 100 percent in a study in the USA, Peru and Chile that people developed a severe course of Covid-19 or had to be treated in a hospital because of it. With an effectiveness of 79 percent, the vaccination prevented symptomatic Covid-19 disease, according to a press release from AstraZeneca.
According to this, the vaccine was 80 percent effective even in people over 65 years of age. Around 20 percent of the participants were at least 65 years old. 60 percent of the participants had risk factors for a severe course of Covid-19, such as being very overweight, diabetes or heart disease. In Germany, the AstraZeneca vaccine was initially not approved for seniors because, in the opinion of the Standing Vaccination Commission, there was a lack of data on the effectiveness of the agent in the elderly. The age restriction has now been lifted.
AstraZeneca now wants to apply for emergency approval in the USA
AstraZeneca’s vaccine is not yet approved in the United States. The company said it would apply to the relevant US authorities for emergency approval in the coming weeks. Publication of the data in a specialist journal is also being prepared. The information now presented has therefore not yet been assessed by other researchers.
32,499 people took part in the study, two thirds received the vaccine and one third a placebo. Astrazeneca evaluated the data after a total of 141 cases of Covid-19 had occurred. The company has not yet provided any further details on the cases of illness.
According to AstraZeneca, there were no safety warning signs in the study. None of the participants developed a sinus vein thrombosis, reports the company.
Because individual people in Europe developed such a dangerous blood clot in the brain in connection with the AstraZeneca vaccination, some European countries had temporarily stopped the vaccination. This mainly affected women under the age of 55. On March 18 said the EU Medicines Agency Ema that the benefits of the vaccination outweigh any possible harm, it is “safe and effective”. She recommended continuing to use the remedy. The World Health Organization also advises vaccinating with AstraZeneca. The authorities could not rule out a connection between vaccination and cerebral vein thrombosis, but also could not confirm it. However, German researchers already presented studies last Friday, according to which it is very likely that the vaccination actually caused the dangerous clots. They also presented a suggestion on how to treat clot formation.
In Germany, the Astrazeneca remedy is used again without restrictions. France has decided to only give the vaccine to people over the age of 55. Denmark, Norway and Sweden have currently suspended vaccination. They wanted to await further investigation.
The data from America now presented by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford will not provide any information in this context. Because even a study with almost 33,000 participants is too small for statements about extremely rare side effects. Side effects, which affect only a few people out of a million people treated, can only be recognized with all new drugs, including vaccines, when a corresponding number of people have received them. This happens – not only with the AstraZeneca vaccine – inevitably after a drug has been approved.