Astrazeneca looks to US data and a next-gen vaccine


Data reported in a Lancet preprint this week suggesting that Astrazeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine has 76% efficacy, and reduces asymptomatic transmission of the virus by 67%, after a single shot are encouraging. But the disclosure of two hospitalisations for Covid-19 in this new cohort – the data concern the patients in the UK, Brazil and South Africa trials, whereas previous readouts concerned only the first two – is disquieting. These occurred within three weeks of the first dose and neither was judged “severe”, unlike three of the 22 hospitalisations in the control arm. And still lacking are decent data on AZD1222’s levels of protection in the over-65s; however, Astra’s Mene Pangalos said on a call today that this would arrive next month, as the US trial of AZD1222 reads out. A fifth of the 30,000 patients in this study are aged over 65. The company is already looking past this, however, and is working on a new version of the vaccine designed to be more active against new strains of the coronavirus, including the UK variant B117. Clinical trials in “the hundreds” of subjects are in the planning stage, and a next-generation vaccine could be on the shelves in autumn.

Phase III data on Astra's AZD1222 
    Covid-19-positive Severe Covid-19 
Date reported Trials Time point Vaccine Pbo Efficacy Vaccine Pbo
Nov 23, 2020 COV002 + COV003 14 days after 2nd dose 30 101 70% 0 2
Feb 1, 2021 COV002 + COV003 + COV005 14 days after 2nd dose 84 248 67% 0* 3**
Feb 1, 2021 COV002 + COV003 + COV005 22-90 days after single dose 17 71 76% - -
*2 hospitalisations, neither severe. **22 hospitalisations, 3 severe. Source: Lancet preprint.

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