expert reaction to press release from AstraZeneca announcing primary data on safety and efficacy from the US trial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine


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AstraZeneca have published a press release stating that the primary analysis of the Phase III trial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the US have confirmed vaccine efficacy consistent with the pre-specified interim analysis announced on Monday 22 March 2021.

Prof Stephen Evans, Professor of Pharmacoepidemiology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said:

“Press releases are not a good form of scientific communication. It seems that the stock market requires them, perhaps understandably, to prevent insider trading when results affect share prices. This is not good, ever, and while in a pandemic there is an obvious need for rapid dissemination of results, it would be much better for public health to await regulatory assessment of the full results, which are properly set out in relation to a pre-specified protocol. Any vaccine will not be available until after regulatory approval and knowing interim results does not in itself bring public benefit.



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