A trial conducted by experts from Columbia University and the University of Rochester in the United States of America showed that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe and 79 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19.
The result of the trial was released on Monday by AstraZeneca amid the safety concerns over the vaccine.
Some European countries had previously suspended the rollout of the vaccine following reports of a possible blood clot.
However, following the reassurance of the safety of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine by the UK and EU regulators, some countries that had previously suspended the rollout of the vaccine continued with vaccination.
The results of the new trial confirmed the safety of the vaccine with 100 percent efficacy against severe or critical hospitalisation and 80 percent efficacy in participants aged 65 years and over.
The trial was conducted on 32,449 participants across 88 trial centres in the US, Peru and Chile, and the participants were administered two doses of the vaccine within four weeks apart.
“Approximately 20% of participants were 65 years and over, and approximately 60% had comorbidities associated with an increased risk for progression of severe COVID-19, such as diabetes, severe obesity or cardiac disease,” the findings said.
Ann Falsey, a professor of medicine at the University of Rochester and co-lead principal investigator for the trial, said the findings validate the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as a “much-needed additional vaccination option” and that it can protect adults of all ages against the virus.
“The vaccine was well tolerated, and the independent data safety monitoring board (DSMB) identified no safety concerns related to the vaccine,” the findings said.
“The DSMB conducted a specific review of thrombotic events, as well as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) with the assistance of an independent neurologist.
“The DSMB found no increased risk of thrombosis or events characterised by thrombosis among the 21,583 participants receiving at least one dose of the vaccine. The specific search for CVST found no events in this trial.”
Nigeria is currently administering the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to its citizens after about four million doses were delivered through the UN-led COVAX facility on March 2.