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Real-world data show effectiveness of vaccine against Delta variant: AZ

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on June 16, 2021

Says it provides ‘high levels of protection’ against the variant

UK-based AstraZeneca said its vaccine was seen to be effective against the Delta variant that originated in India.

In fact, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pointed to concerns over the Delta variant as the reason behind delaying UK’s opening up, and outlined plans for accelerated vaccination.

Meanwhile, AZ pointed to new data from Public Health England (PHE) that indicated that the AZ-OxfordUniversity Covid-19 vaccine had provided “high levels of protection” against the Delta variant (B.1.617.2).

Real-world data from PHE demonstrated that two doses of the AZ-Oxford vaccine was 92 per cent effective against hospitalisation due to the Delta variant and showed no deaths among those vaccinated.

Alpha variant

The vaccine also showed a high level of effectiveness against the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7; formerly ‘Kent’ variant), with an 86 per cent reduction in hospitalisations and no deaths reported, the note said.

India’s Serum Institute has an alliance on this vaccine to make and market it locally and to other low- and middle-income countries.

The PHE data also suggested vaccine effectiveness against milder symptomatic disease, although of a lesser degree. Vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease was 74 per cent against the Alpha variant and 64 per cent against the Delta variant, it added. The higher efficacy against severe disease and hospitalisation is supported by recent data showing strong T-cell response to the AZ vaccine, said the company.

Mene Pangalos, AZ Executive Vice-President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, said real-world evidence showed that the AZ vaccine provided a high level of protection against the Delta variant, “which is currently a critical area of concern, given its rapid transmission”.

“The data show that the vaccine will continue to have a significant impact around the world, given that it continues to account for the overwhelming majority of supplies to India and the Covax facility.”

The company added that the real-world evidence against the Delta variant was based on limited follow-up after the second dose, which could impact the effectiveness estimate. The Delta variant is a key contributor to the current wave of infection in the Indian subcontinent and beyond. It has recently replaced the Alpha variant as the dominant strain in Scotland, and is responsible for a notable increase in cases in the United Kingdom, the company pointed out.

Meanwhile, AZ said that a trial assessing the safety and efficacy of AZD7442, a long-acting antibody (LAAB) combination for the prevention of symptomatic Covid-19 in participants recently exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, did not meet the primary endpoint.

“While this trial did not meet the primary endpoint against symptomatic illness, we are encouraged by the protection seen in the PCR negative participants following treatment with AZD7442. We await results from PROVENT, our pre-exposure prevention trial and TACKLE, our treatment trial in preventing more severe disease, to understand the potential role of AZD7442 in protecting against Covid-19,” said Pangalos.

Published on June 15, 2021

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