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AstraZeneca says its Covid-19 vaccine is up to 90% effective

LONDON: Britain's AstraZeneca said yesterday its vaccine for the coronavirus could be around 90 per cent effective without any serious side effects, giving the world another important tool to halt the Covid-19 pandemic.

The vaccine developed by Oxford University was 90 per cent effective when it was administered as a half dose followed by a full dose at least one month apart, according to data from the late-stage trials in Britain and Brazil.

"This vaccine's efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against Covid-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency," Mr Pascal Soriot, Astra's chief executive, said in a statement.

The vaccine's effectiveness fell to just 62 per cent when given as two full doses rather than a half-dose first. But scientists cautioned against seeing this as evidence that it would be less useful.

"I think it is a real fool's errand to start trying to pick these three (Pfizer/Moderna/Astra) apart on the basis of snippets of phase three data," said professor of immunology Danny Altmann.

"For the bigger picture, my suspicion is that by the time we are a year down the line, we'll be using all three vaccines with about 90 per cent protection - and we'll be a lot happier." - REUTERS

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