New trial data gives AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine a boost in U.S.

AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine received a major boost on Monday after data from a large trial showed it was safe and effective, potentially paving the way for its emergency authorisation in the United States as countries in Asia accelerated its rollout.

The trials in the United States, Chile and Peru showed the vaccine was 79% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 and could bolster confidence in the product after confusion over its efficacy data, dosing regimen and possible side-effects.

Many European countries halted the use of the AstraZeneca shot earlier this month after some reports that it was linked to blood clots, but have since resumed inoculation after a regional regulator said it was safe. A survey on Monday showed Europeans remained sceptical over its safety.

Leaders in Asia have sought to boost public confidence by taking the AstraZeneca shot themselves amid concerns a slowdown in the global vaccination rollout could hurt the fight against COVID-19, which has killed over 2.8 million people worldwide.

The AstraZeneca shot was among the first and cheapest of the COVID-19 vaccines to be developed and launched at volume and is set to be the mainstay of vaccination programmes in much of the developing world.

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