PARIS: Oxford University and AstraZeneca became the first Covid-19 vaccine makers to publish final-stage clinical trial results in a scientific journal Tuesday, clearing a key hurdle in the global race to produce safe and effective drugs for the new coronavirus.

The study, published in the respected Lancet medical journal, confirmed that the vaccine works in an average of 70 percent of cases.

It comes during a flurry of positive developments that have raised hopes the roll-out of vaccines can help begin to restrain a pandemic that has killed more than 1.5 million people and stricken societies worldwide.

Andrew Pollard, the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said publication in the Lancet showed developers were “transparently sharing the data”. He said a range of vaccines would be needed to bring the pandemic to heel, “otherwise we’ll still be in this position in six months time”. “This really can’t be a competition between developers, this has to be in competition against the virus,” he told a press briefing. The study showed the vaccine had an efficacy of 62 percent for those given two full doses, and of 90 percent in those given a half then a full dose.

AstraZeneca and Oxford faced questions last month about their analysis — which looks at data from a total of 23,000 people in separate trials with differing protocols — after releasing an overview of the results. These centred on the smaller group who were given an initial half dose because of a mistake.

Tuesday’s study confirmed that this group of 1,367 participants did not include adults over the age of 55 years.—AFP