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AstraZeneca vaccine (REUTERS)
AstraZeneca vaccine (REUTERS)

COVID-19 vaccine: Will look at interim Phase III data after 53 infections, says Oxford official

  • The Oxford Vaccine Group's director Andrew Pollard said there were 'lots of cases' of infections in its Phase III trial in Britain, Brazil and South Africa

The Oxford Universiy will start an interim analysis of data from its late-stage trial of the experimental vaccine after 53 infections among its volunteers, the study's chief investigator said on Thursday.

The Oxford Vaccine Group's director, Andrew Pollard, said there were "lots of cases" of infections in its Phase III trial in Britain, Brazil and South Africa.

Pollard's comments came after data published on Thursday showed the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in Phase II studies produced a strong immune response in older adults. The data suggests those at higher risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19 could be protected.

“This is a very important step, because the big worry with any vaccine is that it doesn’t work so well in older people," Richard Horton, The Lancet’s editor-in-chief, said. The data is “another brick in the house that we’re trying to build for this vaccine."

Earlier on Thursday, he said he expected Phase III data to be released by Christmas.

The results of Oxford’s phase 2 study show that the vaccine is better tolerated in older people and produces a similar immune response in old and young adults.

The study involved 560 adults, including 240 over the age of 70. Older patients have been hardest hit by the pandemic, with the vast majority of deaths occurring in those over 60. Data released in July showed the vaccine generated robust immune responses in adults aged 18 to 55.

Oxford Vaccine developer Sarah Gilbert said, "Astrazeneca is looking to roll out vaccine at low price per dose." She further added, "We are doing a rolling review with multiple regulators, providing information that's available now."

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