AstraZeneca report says vaccine 76% effective

AstraZeneca said on Thursday (March 25) its COVID-19 vaccine is 76% effective, in a new analysis of its U.S. trial.

That's just a tad lower than a report earlier this week that put it at 79% - but that was slammed for using old data, earning an unusual public rebuke from U.S. health officials.

AstraZeneca also stressed its 85% efficacy in the over-65s and 100% protection against severe disease and death.

Those stats put it in the same ballpark as the other vaccines, an infectious disease expert told Reuters.

What's also significant is that the trial of more than 32,000 people came after more infectious variants of the disease became prevalent.

Thursday's revision should go a long way towards U.S. emergency-use authorization for the shot, which AstraZeneca will seek in the coming weeks.

And it will help the firm, which developed the vaccine with Oxford University, overcome doubts over effectiveness and side-effects on both sides of the Atlantic.

AstraZeneca's vaccine is seen as crucial in tackling the spread of COVID-19. It is easier and cheaper to transport than rival shots.

But questions have dogged the rollout. Earlier this month, more than a dozen countries paused use after reports linked the vaccine to a rare blood-clotting disorder.

The EU drug regulator ruled it safe, but many Europeans remain skeptical.

Production glitches and export curbs by India and the EU are among other problems that have marred the rollout.

Two sources have told Reuters that India has put a temporary hold on all major exports of the shot made by the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world鈥檚 biggest vaccine-maker.

That's to meet domestic demand as infections rise.

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