In the global race for a coronavirus vaccine, one group leaped ahead early. The team from Oxford University and British-Swedish biotech firm AstraZeneca first began injecting doses of their vaccine, now named Vaxzevria, into patients in April 2020. The vaccine, which uses a reprogrammed chimpanzee virus, has been shown in large clinical trials to be safe and effective at preventing serious illness and death. It’s now approved for use or emergency use in almost 100 countries and forms the backbone of the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative , which aims to provide equitable access to vaccines across the globe, opening up vaccine rollouts in dozens of low-income countries. But it’s suffered a number of setbacks. Miscommunications with the US Food and Drug Administration and dosing mistakes in clinical trials have eroded confidence in the shot, particularly in the US, where it’s yet to be approved for use. Its latest setback may be the biggest of them all. A spate of reports in February and March showed AstraZeneca’s vaccine may be associated with a rare, sometimes fatal blood clotting condition. Instances of clotting were detected in a handful of European countries, including Austria, Denmark and Norway, and in late March, some… Read full this story
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