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QUOTES-AstraZeneca updates COVID-19 vaccine efficacy rate to 76%

(Adds fresh comment)

March 25 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca said its COVID-19 vaccine was 76% effective at preventing symptomatic illness in a new analysis of its major U.S. trial - a tad lower than the level announced earlier this week in a report that was criticised for using outdated information.

U.S. health officials had publicly rebuked the drugmaker for not using the most up-to-date information when it published an interim analysis on Monday that said the vaccine was 79% effective.

Following are comments on the latest developments

MENE PANGALOS, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, BIOPHARMACEUTICALS R&D AT ASTRAZENECA IN STATEMENT

“The primary analysis is consistent with our previously released interim analysis, and confirms that our COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective in adults, including those aged 65 years and over. We look forward to filing our regulatory submission for Emergency Use Authorization in the US and preparing for the rollout of millions of doses across America.”

EYAL LESHEM, DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR TRAVEL MEDICINE AND TROPICAL DISEASES AT SHEBA MEDICAL CENTER IN ISRAEL

“The preliminary results from the U.S. study reported today showed that using the protocol in a rigorous clinical trial setting, the AstraZeneca vaccine showed excellent efficacy against symptomatic COVID, very high efficacy against severe and critical disease and against hospitalization, 100%, and excellent efficacy in older people. So all these are very good news that attests to the AstraZeneca vaccine’s effectiveness.”

On prospects for FDA approval:

“It’s more of a policy issue than a scientific question. The U.S. FDA has given two very quick approvals for two vaccine types, and they have their standard operating procedure. The question is if the FDA has sufficient workforce and the budget to move again with the emergency approval.”

A third vaccine approval “is not expected to dramatically change the situation in the U.S. because they have their doses from Pfizer and Moderna.”

BRUCE THOMPSON, PROFESSOR AT SCHOOL OF HEALTH SCIENCES AT SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY

“Basically it was a governance issue which is resolved now. We really need to take great satisfaction that all these processes are working to make sure that we know everything about the drug.”

“AstraZeneca has given more information and the data is looking fine. It’s a very good vaccine.”

WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES AT THE VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

“I think that this will pour some oil on the troubled waters. The vaccine efficacy against severe disease, including death, puts the AZ vaccine in the same ballpark as the other vaccines. The company continues to intend to submit the data to the FDA and its external advisory committee for an EUA which I expect to be granted.”

PAUL GRIFFIN, PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND

“This appears to be a very effective vaccine with no safety concerns. Hopefully, this should now give people the confidence that this vaccine is the right one to continue to use moving forward.”

JASON TETRO, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT IN CANADA AND AUTHOR OF “THE GERM CODE”

“This should help secure approval in the U.S. and increase the trust in this vaccine worldwide.” (Reporting by Reuters staff; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Sam Holmes)

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