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Representational image
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As the race to create viable COVID-19 vaccines continues, the Oxford-AstraZeneca team appears to be gearing up for a fresh trial. According to the CEO of AstraZeneca Plc, the company is likely to run an additional global trial. This comes amid controversy over the effectiveness of the vaccine.

According to reports, the new trial would evaluate the lower dosage that evoked a better response from vegetables. This will be run as a new trial rather than being added as an arm to the ongoing US trials. According to the CEO this is likely to be another international study that might go faster "because we know the efficacy is high so we need a smaller number of patients".

The initial results regarding the efficacy of the Oxford University and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine candidate have been somewhat mixed. While many have lauded the 70% success rate of the vaccine that leaves its competitors far behind when it comes to the price. It had also made headlines recently after indications that the vaccine candidate had a strong immune response in people over 70.

Since then however, controversy has dogged the makers, as many additional details about the trial and results emerged. The effectiveness of the vaccine appears to increase when the dosage is tweaked. Thus, when people are given two full doses, the effectiveness is a significantly lower 62% as compared to when they receive a half dose first. In the latter case, the effectiveness rises to 90%. The problem however lies in the fact that this welcome news was in fact the result of an error.

AstraZeneca had said that fewer than 2,800 patients were given the smaller dosing regimen, compared with almost 8,900 patients who received two full doses. While the fortuitous error has raised eyebrows, it would also seem that the researchers are unable to explain why the dosage made such a big difference. Details about the patients who received the half dose (such as age) also remain unclear.

Another factor that is concerning is the fact that the Oxford-AstraZeneca data came from two separate studies and are believed to have been combined. One took place in the UK from May, while the other was in Brazil and began at the end of June. They did not have standardized dosing schemes across the trials, and did not provide the same “control” injections to volunteers. These two studies however were substantially different. They did not have standardized dosing schemes across the trials, and did not provide the same “control” injections to volunteers.

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