Australia says AstraZeneca vaccine only for people 60 and older

AstraZeneca treatment unsuccessful at preventing symptomatic COVID-19

AstraZeneca treatment unsuccessful at preventing symptomatic COVID-19

A study published in Spain showed that vaccinating COVID-19 patients who have received an AstraZeneca jab and the Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective, and provides greater protection against the virus.

AstraZeneca said that 1,121 unvaccinated adults had been exposed to an infected person as part of the trial.

But the AstraZeneca results are a small blow for the drug industry as it tries to find more targeted alternatives to COVID-19 inoculations, particularly for people who may not be able to get vaccinated or those who may have an inadequate response to inoculations.

When the trial for the treatment kicked off in November, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: "I am very proud that the United Kingdom is the first country in the world to begin this invaluable study, and that a fifth of trial volunteers will be from Britain - a testament to our fantastic life sciences sector and the willingness of our people to come forward to help others".

He said the government would move immediately to open Pfizer vaccines to anyone aged between 40 and 59.

In recent weeks however reports had suggested the United Kingdom was considering pulling out of the AstraZeneca deal, which had been a non-binding agreement and had been dependent on the treatment working.

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The pharmaceutical company noted that the drug did achieve a 33 percent reduction in the risk of developing a symptomatic infection, but that this wasn't enough to meet the threshold of clinical significance. He has urged healthcare services to "gear up" for a rollout.

On March 16 this year, AstraZeneca had announced an extended agreement with the U.S. government to supply up to 5,00,000 additional doses of AZD7442 for $205 million, contingent on AZD7442 receiving Food and Drug Administration's emergency use authorisation in post-exposure prophylaxis.

The KDCA said it will also allow combining AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines in two-shot regimens among some groups starting next month to boost efficacy.

AstraZeneca said on Tuesday a late-stage trial failed to provide evidence that its COVID-19 antibody therapy protected people who had contact with an infected person from the disease, a small setback in its efforts to find alternatives to vaccines.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: "To end this pandemic and send this virus into retreat, we have taken a broad approach, including the possible use of antibody treatments". Five more trials are ongoing, testing the antibody cocktail as treatment or in prevention.

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