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Coronavirus: EU approves AstraZeneca PLC vaccine for all over-18s, Novavax jab shown to be 89% effec


The row between AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN) and the EU over COVID-19 vaccines has culminated in approval on Friday afternoon.

The European Medicines Agency has recommended granting conditional marketing authorisation for use in all people aged 18 or over. It is the third COVID-19 jab approved in the bloc.

READ: Row between AstraZeneca and EU continues as Germany advises against use on over 65s for lack of efficacy data

The news was eagerly awaited to see the authorities’ response to a recommendation by Germany’s Robert Koch Institute that stated it should only be used in people aged 18 to 64 because there isn’t enough data to prove its efficacy on over 65s.

Meanwhile, the Commission has published a redacted version of its contract with the pharma giant to back up its requests to fulfill demand.

The drugmaker was meant to provide 100mln doses of the jab in the first quarter of 2021 but last week it informed the bloc that there would be significant shortfalls on the schedule and it would be able to deliver only a quarter of the agreed volumes.

The news sparked a row between the two parties, with the EU demanding supplies that were destined to the UK and investigating a Belgian factory to understand whether jabs had been diverted to non-member states.

Chief executive Pascal Soriot said earlier this week the delays are because the bloc signed up supply contracts three months after the UK, therefore Britain had more time to sort out teething problems.

The FTSE 100 firm said the problems are at two plants in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Shares dipped 1% to 7,590p before close, paring earlier losses.

Novavax results are out

Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ:NVAX) has released late-stage trial results on its vaccine on Friday.

The jab was found to have an 89.3% efficacy rate in the UK, where studies were conducted during a period with high transmission and with a new variant strain of the virus circulating widely.

Another trial was conducted in South Africa, where another variant has emerged, but the efficacy rate dropped to 60%.

In total, the biotech has involved 20,000 participants globally.

The UK previously secured 60mln doses, which will be delivered in the second half of this year following approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

The formulation is different from the other vaccines already being rolled out because it combines an engineered protein from the virus that causes COVID-19 with a plant-based ingredient to help generate a stronger immune response.

–Adds EU approval update–

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