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A Third Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Has Reported Promising — But Confusing — Results

The vaccine, which Oxford University developed alongside the company AstraZeneca, was reportedly highly effective in preventing hospitalizations or severe cases of the coronavirus.

Last updated on November 26, 2020, at 11:33 a.m. ET

Posted on November 23, 2020, at 8:49 a.m. ET

Nurphoto / Getty Images

A Reuters reported. As a result, only a little over 2,700 people received the half-dose shot, out of the 23,000 people in the trial results reported Monday, a very small subset to base results on. Then, on Tuesday, Operation Warp Speed head Moncef Slaoui said the age of participants in the half-dose group was capped at 55, casting further doubts on the results. Scientists have since criticized AstraZeneca for both its trial design and how it disclosed its data, which have not yet been peer reviewed or released in full.

The early analysis was based on 131 COVID-19 cases among trial participants who either received the vaccine or a placebo injection.

The company said that the trials, which took place in the UK and Brazil, also showed that the vaccine was highly effective in preventing hospitalizations or severe cases of the coronavirus. “These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives," professor Andrew Pollard, chief investigator of the Oxford vaccine trial, said in a press release.

Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna trials, which only tested people who reported symptoms, the AstraZeneca data also showed that asymptomatic infections were reduced in the group of patients who received a vaccine, suggesting that it can help limit transmission. The AstraZeneca trial in the UK swabbed patients weekly, which provided more information about who developed infections.

Earlier this month, told STAT that, "If it’s 70%, then we’ve got a dilemma."

“Because what are you going to do with the 70% when you’ve got two [vaccines] that are 95%? Who are you going to give a vaccine like that to?”


This story has been updated to include further details about the half-dose arm of the clinical trial.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.