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AstraZeneca hits snag in coronavirus drug development

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Vials of AstraZeneca vaccines.
Vials of AstraZeneca vaccines.
Beckmann/BSR Agency/Getty Images
  • AstraZeneca says it has hit a snag in developing treatments for Covid-19.
  • Its vaccine, developed along with Oxford University, is still experiencing doubt over its safety.
  • The treatment made, has failed its main goal to treat Covid-19 in exposed patients.

Covid-19 vaccine maker AstraZeneca on Tuesday revealed it had hit a setback in trials of a treatment for the Covid-19.

The drug, made from a combination of two antibodies, failed its main goal to treat Covid-19 symptoms in exposed patients, AstraZeneca said in a statement.

The treatment has been undergoing phase 3 or final clinical trials to assess its safety and efficacy.

AstraZeneca said that 1 121 unvaccinated adults had been exposed to an infected person as part of the trial.

Treatment AZD7442 reduced the risk of developing symptoms by only 33% - which was "not statistically significant", it added.

The company is nevertheless continuing trials to assess whether the drug can prevent Covid or treat more severe symptoms.

WATCH | 101-year-old gets vaccine after surviving Covid-19

The US government has funded the development of AZD7442 and has agreements to receive 700 000 doses.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine, which was developed with the University of Oxford, continues to face safety doubts.

The jab has been suspended in several European countries over reports of rare blood clots.

A top official in the European Medicines Agency on Sunday suggested that it might be worth abandoning AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine for all age groups where alternatives are available.

However, a study from British health authorities showed on Monday that two doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford or rival Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines stopped the need for in-patient treatment in more than 90 percent of cases of the Delta variant.

The UK government on Monday announced a four-week delay to the full lifting of coronavirus restrictions in England due to a surge in infections caused by Delta, which first appeared in India.

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