Dosing Mistake By AstraZeneca Leads To Better Vaccine Efficacy
A controversial dosing mistake marred last year’s announcement revealing the efficacy of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, but the error strangely led to better results, Rich Haridy reported for New Atlas.
Photo Insert: The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine
Researchers from Northwestern University Medicine have replicated those accidental findings and shown some vaccines may be more effective if the first dose is much lower than the second.
Late in 2020, following several promising announcements of successful Phase 3 clinical trials testing mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca revealed exciting results for its vaccine candidate developed in association with Oxford University.
The preliminary press announcement indicated the vaccine was 70 percent effective at preventing COVID-19.
Even more impressive, however, was the finding that a half-dose followed by a full dose led to even higher efficacy, around 90 percent, compared to the standard dose protocol. It was quickly uncovered that this half-dose protocol was actually a mistake and not an intentional plan.
Mene Pangalos, an AstraZeneca executive working on the research program, called the error a “useful mistake.” And although the company didn’t initially disclose the fact this half-dose cohort was a mistake, Pangalos said the error was quickly incorporated into the trial as an alternative dosing experiment.
“It wasn’t putting anyone in danger,” Pangalos said. “It was a dosing error. Everyone was moving very fast. We corrected the mistake and continued on with the study, with no changes to the study, and agreed with the regulator to include those patients in the analysis of the study as well.”