The AstraZeneca vaccine is showing encouraging signs with its efficacy and as a tool in curbing the coronavirus pandemic, according to researchers. Studies show 76% protection for three months after just one dose, according to a Feb. 3 Washington Post report on British researchers’ findings.
The article also notes that those vaccinated are much less likely to transmit the disease. That could be instrumental in slowing the spread of COVID-19 as more people get this version of the vaccine.
As the New York Times noted, “The study by researchers at the University of Oxford is the first to document evidence that any coronavirus vaccine can reduce transmission of the virus. Researchers measured the impact on transmission by swabbing participants every week seeking to detect signs of the virus. If there is no virus present, even if someone is infected, it cannot be spread. And they found a 67% reduction in positive swabs among those vaccinated.”
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock, hailing the results, observed in a Feb. 3 BBC interview, “We now know that the Oxford vaccine also reduces transmission and that will help us all get out of this pandemic.” He added that “should give everyone confidence that this jab works not only to keep you safe but to keep you from passing on the virus to others.”
Nautilus wrote in December, when AstraZeneca vaccine trials were showing efficacy numbers of up to 90%, that it offered two distinct advantages over the better-performing Moderna and Pfizer vaccines: “It can be stored under ‘normal refrigerated conditions”’ of 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit (2-8 degrees Celsius), and it will be offered at a lower cost than the other two vaccines previously announced.”
The vaccine, which might not be approved for U.S. use until April, also appears to work better when the second dose is delayed.
CNBC reported that the AstraZeneca vaccine’s efficacy, after a single standard dose of vaccine from day 22 to day 90 post-vaccination, was 76% without waning during that period, while the efficacy rate rose to 82.4% when there was at least a 12-week interval before the second dose. In cases where the second dose was given six weeks or less after the first one, the efficacy rate dropped to 54.9%.
CNBC also reported a further encouraging sign via AstraZeneca: There were no severe cases and no hospitalizations more than 22 days after the first dose among those who were inoculated.
But early trials have shown AstraZeneca not to be effective in slowing down the South Africa variant of COVID-19. The company has said it could produce a tweaked version of its vaccine in the next 6-9 months.
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