Drug manufacturer Serum Institute of India on Thursday said that the potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the Oxford University is “safe and effective” and that the Indian trials are progressing smoothly with strict adherence to all protocols, reported PTI.
The Pune-based firm has partnered with AstraZeneca and Oxford University to produce the Covishield vaccine in India.
The Serum Institute’s comments came after AstraZeneca and Oxford University acknowledged a manufacturing error that raised questions about preliminary results of the vaccine candidate. The problems in the drug’s efficacy that could arise due to this error is still unclear.
“The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is safe and effective,” Serum said in a statement, according to PTI. “Even the lowest efficacy results are at 60-70%, making it a viable vaccine against the virus...We must be patient and not panic.”
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca’s Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot on Thursday said that the company is likely to conduct an additional global trial to assess the efficacy of its vaccine.
“Now that we’ve found what looks like a better efficacy we have to validate this, so we need to do an additional study,” Soriot said, in an interview with Bloomberg.
The company had on Monday said that its vaccine has shown more than 70% overall efficacy in a third phase interim trial. A group of volunteers in the AstraZeneca trial received a lower dose of the vaccine candidate than the others who got two full doses. In the lower dose group, AstraZeneca said that the vaccine appeared to be 90% effective. For those who took two full doses, the vaccine was 62% effective.