Hmm… The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) threw shade at AstraZeneca after the drug company released results from its COVID-19 vaccine trials. The government agency had seen the underlying data and seemed to question if the drug company was being completely forthcoming in its announcement. Now AstraZeneca is firing back.
AstraZeneca said results published on Monday were based on an interim analysis of data through Feb. 17. The company said on Tuesday it would “immediately engage” with the independent panel monitoring the trial to share its primary analysis using the most up-to-date efficacy data.
Dr Anthony Fauci, U.S. President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 medical adviser the NIAID director said:
“This is likely a very good vaccine. If you look at it, the data really are quite good but when they put it into the press release it wasn’t completely accurate.”
This doesn’t exactly instill confidence.
The public rebuke marks the latest setback for the vaccine, which was initially hailed as a milestone in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic but has been dogged by questions over its effectiveness and possible side effects.
According to the data, AstraZeneca made public on Monday the vaccine, developed with Oxford University, was 79% effective in preventing symptomatic illness in the large trial that also took place in Chile and Peru. It was also 100% effective against severe or critical forms of the disease and hospitalization and posed no increased risk of blood clots.
The renewed doubts about the vaccine’s efficacy coincide with its rollout in dozens of countries worldwide and clouds the timeline for its emergency use authorization in the United States.