London, March 22
AstraZeneca says advanced trial data from a US study on its Covid vaccine shows it is 79 per cent effective.
Although AstraZeneca’s vaccine has been authorised in more than 50 countries, it has not yet been given the green light in the US. The US study comprised 30,000 volunteers, 20,000 of whom were given the vaccine while the rest got dummy shots. The results were announced on Monday.
Israel lifts flight restriction
- Israel has lifted a restriction on the number of incoming and outgoing passengers at the airport after the SC ruled that the two-month measure was ‘unconstitutional’
- The number of inbound and outbound flights on a daily basis at the airport will be limited in accordance with ‘the effective capacity of the airport and the need to keep the virus requirements of social distancing and the need to carry out tests’
Congo Republic oppn prez nominee dead
- The main opposition candidate in Sunday’s presidential election in Congo Republic, Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas, died at 61 while being evacuated to France for medical treatment
- He was in hospital with Covid-19, which prevented him from casting his own ballot. The election results are expected later this week
Germany looks set to extend lockdown measures
- German authorities are expected to extend lockdown measures again on Monday and possibly tighten some restrictions as they face a steady rise in cases
- The weekly infection rate per 1 lakh people stood at 107 on Monday, up from the mid-60s
- Infections have increased steadily and the more contagious variant first detected in Britain has become dominant. Most lockdown restrictions are currently set to run through March 28. The chancellery is proposing an extension to April 18
AstraZeneca said its Covid-19 vaccine had a 79 per cent efficacy rate at preventing symptomatic Covid and was 100 per cent effective in stopping severe disease and hospitalisation. Investigators said the vaccine was effective across all ages, including older people — which previous studies in other countries had failed to establish. The early findings from the US study are just one set of information AstraZeneca must submit to the Food and Drug Administration. An FDA advisory committee will publicly debate the evidence behind the shots before the agency decides whether to allow emergency use of the vaccine.
Britain first authorised the vaccine based on partial results from testing in the UK, Brazil and South Africa that suggested the shots were about 70 per cent effective. But those results were clouded by a manufacturing mistake that led some participants to get just a half dose in their first shot. Last week, more than a dozen countries, mostly in Europe, temporarily suspended their use of the AstraZeneca shot after reports it was linked to blood clots. On Thursday, the European Medicines Agency concluded after an investigation that the vaccine did not raise the overall risk of blood clots, but could not rule out that it was connected to two very rare types of clots. — AP