Oxford COVID-19 vaccine cuts virus transmission, 'very effective'

AstraZeneca shot shows 82% efficacy with UK’s two-dose interval

They found that the vaccine efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 after a single standard dose of the vaccine was 76% from day 22 to day 90. "The [AstraZeneca] vaccine is therefore recommended preferentially for health professionals under 65 and people under 65".

The Oxford study, which is awaiting peer review, found that those who had been vaccinated with a single dose of the vaccine were 67 percent less likely to test positive with a PCR test, "suggesting the potential for a substantial reduction in transmission".

It also provided backing for the UK's strategy of administering as many first doses of vaccine to high-risk groups as possible and allowing a 12-week interval before the second dose, which has been criticised by some experts. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.

The three countries join Germany and Italy in issuing such recommendations, even though the EU's regulator cleared the vaccine for all adults.

In the study published in the Preprints with Lancet, a single dose administration and the influence of the timing of the booster dose was further investigated.

"The planned rollout in the United Kingdom will involve vaccinating people in high-risk categories with their first dose immediately and delivering the second dose 12 weeks later".

"The primary analysis of overall vaccine efficacy 14 days after the second dose was 66.7 percent".

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A modeled analysis indicated protection did not wane during the initial 3-month period, and antibody levels were maintained during that time.

AstraZeneca's research chief has said 8-12 weeks between doses seems to be the "sweet spot" for efficacy, contrasting with USA drugmaker Pfizer, which has warned that the vaccine it has developed with Germany's BioNTech was not trialled with such an interval.

'This idea, called heterogeneous boosting, is at the core of the Sputnik vaccine because we use two different shots and believe this is the best way to fight with mutations, and this also fosters a partnership between different vaccine manufacturers'.

This showed its effectiveness in preventing asymptomatic infections. If the Astra vaccine also reduces transmission, it will speed up the process of achieving herd immunity, when the virus can no longer make inroads into a population.

Professor Andrew Pollard, chief investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial, and study co-author, said: "These new data provide an important verification of the interim data that was used by more than 25 regulators including the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) and EMA (European Medicines Agency) to grant the vaccine emergency use authorisation".

However its efficacy is reported at just 60 percent, compared with more than 90 percent for the rival coronavirus vaccines introduced earlier.

The fever, fatigue, and other signs associated with a COVID-19 infection are typically caused by the immune responses, not the virus itself.

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