Health

India speeding up review of Pfizer, AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines - senior official

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Mr Trump has followed an

Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla had earlier said the vaccine would be priced at 1,000 rupees ($13.55) per dose in India's private market, but governments signing large supply deals would likely buy it at lower prices.

The head of the UK's vaccine taskforce said Tuesday that a "mix and match" trial will combine both Pfizer and AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccines.

"In the above backdrop, we request you to use your good offices to get bankers included in the list of frontline workers so that they can be administered the vaccine in a priority manner and workforce can feel appreciated for the services rendered by them during these most hard and challenging times", it said.

Dr Simon Clarke, Associate Professor in Cellular Microbiology, University of Reading, said: "The report on the successful trial of the Oxford/AstraZeneca presents regulators with something of a dilemma".

Results confirmed the vaccine's efficacy was 62 percent for those given two full doses, and 90 percent in a sub-group of trial participants given a half then a full dose. "Our findings indicate that our vaccine's efficacy exceeds the thresholds set by health authorities and may have a potential public health impact".

"We have no safety concerns about the vaccine", with no hospitalizations or severe disease among those who received it, and results from all study locations consistently showing benefit, said one study leader, Oxford's Andrew Pollard. All three participants have recovered or are recovering and remain in the trial.

In general, the vaccine was found to be safe as out of the 23,745 only three participants experienced serious adverse effects that could possibly be related to the vaccine.

Yet that "wrong" dose turned out to be a victor - giving 90% protection - while two standard doses gave 62%. So if it is licensed by the MHRA, will it just be for the standard dose regimen but only for those aged 18-55 years?

The New Brunswick government now says 1,950 people in the province should be able to get their first of two COVID-19 vaccine doses before Christmas. This included 0.5pc cases in the vaccine group and 1.7pc cases in the control group, which equates to a vaccine efficacy of 70%. The authors said they provided extra analysis to Lancet peer reviewers that suggested improved results for the half-dose group was not down to other factors like age.

This essentially means from no efficacy data has been generated so far in Phase 3 trials.

Another vaccine, made by US -based Moderna, is also more than 90 percent effective. Since recruitment of older adults started later than in younger adults, there has been less follow-up time for these cohorts and less time to accrue Covid-19 cases.

Kate Bingham said that while the virus would never completely disappear, by the summer of 2021 "we should be in a much better place to get on planes".

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