Washington, March 23: A US health agency on Tuesday questioned the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Oxford University and pharma giant AstraZeneca. According to a report by news agency Reuters, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said AstraZeneca may have provided "outdated" data on its COVID-19 vaccine from a large scale trial in the United States. COVID-19 Vaccines Covishield, Covaxin Pose No Blood Clot Risk, Finds Government Panel.
The Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) has "expressed concern that AstraZeneca may have included outdated information from that trial, which may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data," the NIAID said in a statement. NIAID is headed by infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci, who also serves as the chief medical advisor to US President Joe Biden. Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Suspension: European Countries' Decision More Political Than Scientific? Report Says Pfizer Vaccine Has More Blood Clot Cases.
"We urge the company to work with the DSMB to review the efficacy data and ensure the most accurate, up-to-date efficacy data be made public as quickly as possible," NIAID added. AstraZeneca did not immediately respond to a request for comment, Reuters said. This comes as a fresh blow to AstraZeneca which intends to seek emergency use authorization for the vaccine in the US in coming weeks.
Oxford-AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine showed 79 percent effectiveness in preventing symptomatic illness in a large trial in the US, Chile and Peru, and posed no increased risk of blood clots. However, the vaccine has landed in trouble after doubts were cast over its efficacy, dosing regimen and possible side effects. More than a dozen countries in Europe have suspended the use of AstraZeneca's jab over blood clot fears.