Pfizer-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine combinations are effective, study suggests

Doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md. DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando.

British researchers report that using distinct COVID-19 vaccine types for the first and second doses appears to be effective, according to a preprint study in The Lancet.

As global health authorities seek to vaccinate as many people as possible, a potential hurdle is the need to use identical vaccines for the prime and boost stages. Using a so-called heterologous prime-boost vaccination would enable more rapid vaccination, but data about the efficacy of such a strategy have been scarce.

In the recent study, researchers randomized 830 adults 50 and older into eight groups to receive the varying combinations of the AstraZeneca and BioNTech-Pfizer vaccines.

To get a sense of the efficacy of the various combinations, the researchers used a geometric mean ratio (GMR) and geometr…

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Report: AstraZeneca Phase III COVID-19 vaccine remains on hold in U.S.

AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) is reportedly keeping its COVID-19 vaccine trial in the U.S. on hold as questions remain over patient safety.

U.S. Health and Human Services Dept. Secretary Alex Azar told CNBC yesterday that federal investigators are looking for “answers to important questions,” regarding the safety of patients involved in the trial operated by the United Kingdom-based company in collaboration with Oxford University.

Earlier this month, AstraZeneca voluntarily paused its trial after a standard review process was triggered so an independent committee could review safety data surrounding a single event of an unexplained illness that occurred in the UK Phase III trial for the AZD1222 vaccine candidate. The UK trial has since resumed, but the U.S. study remains paused.

“Look at the AstraZeneca program, Phase 3 clinical trial, a lot of hope. Single serious adverse event report in the United Kingdom, global shutdown and hold of the clinical …

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AstraZeneca puts COVID-19 vaccine trial on hold

AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) announced today that it voluntarily paused the trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate after an unexplained illness.

The company said in a news release that a standard review process was triggered so an independent committee could review safety data surrounding a single event of an unexplained illness that occurred in the UK Phase III trial for the AZD1222 vaccine being developed in collaboration with Oxford University.

“As part of the ongoing randomized, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process was triggered and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee,” an AstraZeneca spokesperson told Drug Discovery & Development in a statement. “This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the t…

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Oxford researchers report positive early trial results for COVID-19 vaccine candidate

[Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash]

Researchers at Oxford University say early-stage results from a Phase I/II clinical trial of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate display safety and strong immune responses.

Results, published in The Lancet, revealed that the vaccine is safe, causes few side effects and induces strong immune responses in both parts of the immune system in the fight against COVID-19, which is caused by SARS-CoV-2.

Get the full story at our sister site, MassDevice.

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Oxford researchers find widely available steroid reduces COVID-19 deaths

[Image courtesy of CDC]

Oxford researchers announced today that, following testing with thousands of patients, dexamethasone may improve patient survival in cases of COVID-19.

Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid commonly used for treating arthritis and other cases of inflammation. In total, 2,104 patients were randomized in Oxford’s trial to receive dexamethasone in doses of 6 mg, once per day, either by mouth or intravenous injection, over the course of 10 days.

The patients receiving the steroid were compared with 4,321 patients randomized to receive usual care alone. Among the usual care patients, 28-day mortality was highest in those who required ventilation (41%), intermediate in patients only requiring oxygen (25%) and lowest among those who did not require respiratory intervention (13%).

According to a news release, dexamethasone reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients and …

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