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26 Nov, 2020 21:17

Efficacy vs safety? AstraZeneca vaccine is ‘busted flush’ IF it cannot help elderly – but US jabs may be worse, UK doctor tells RT

Efficacy vs safety? AstraZeneca vaccine is ‘busted flush’ IF it cannot help elderly – but US jabs may be worse, UK doctor tells RT

AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine could be a lost cause if it turns out that it cannot protect the elderly against the disease, Malcolm Kendrick, an NHS GP, told RT. He warned that on the other hand, US vaccines could be dangerous.

“Realistically, it has got to work for the elderly, otherwise it is a busted flush,” the Scottish doctor said, commenting on the recent media reports about the jab’s potential efficacy. Earlier, Bloomberg reported that the vaccine developed by the British-Swedish drug manufacturer might be much less effective for the elderly population than it is for younger people.

The reports came after the company released quite puzzling Phase-III clinical trials data demonstrating diverging results in two different groups of participants. The jab somehow turned out to be much more effective when a half dose was injected and then followed by a full dose a month on.

Bloomberg suggested, citing Moncef Slaou, the head of the US Operation Warp Speed program, that the surprisingly 90-percent effective half-dose regimen was injected to people of younger ages, while another group, which included the elderly, had received two full doses that showed only a 62-percent efficiency.

If Bloomberg’s report turns out to be true, Kendrick says that would mean the vaccine is virtually useless, explaining that the younger population is “remarkably unaffected by the virus itself” and has an extremely low Covid-linked mortality rate. So, it would hardly need as strong protection as people of older age.

Also on rt.com ‘Average’ effectiveness & unexplained side effects: 7 QUESTIONS that AstraZeneca needs to answer about its Covid-19 vaccine

The doctor cautioned against jumping to conclusions as he said that any trial results published by pretty-much any vaccine developer nowadays should be considered “a very early stage efficacy testing rather than a major trial.”

“So, all the [tests] are at very, very early stages. It is too early for other companies to be jumping up and saying: ‘yours does not work and ours does’.”

In fact, other vaccines developed by AstraZeneca’s rivals across the pond – Moderna and Pfizer, which also collaborates with Germany’s BioNTech – might pose a much greater risk than just a possibility of a vaccine being not as effective, Kendrick warned.

Both American vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA) to combat the virus. That is an advanced genetic therapy that uses the virus’ own genetic material against it. Kendrick, however, warns that the technology is really new and untested, meaning no one really knows how it could affect human health, since it literally hijacks the cellular reproduction mechanism.

“When you are dealing with something that has never been tried before, the efficacy might not be so important but safety issues should absolutely be looked at very carefully,” he said. “We really do not know what these things might end up doing after a prolonged period of time.”

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The fact that this rivalry between the drug manufacturers could end up with information of vital importance to the public being concealed is something that is completely out of place during the global pandemic, the doctor said.

“They are still playing these secret games, which is not appropriate right now when the world needs to feel confident that people are being given as much information as possible,” Kendrick said, while calling on the vaccine developers to “be as honest and open and share as much data as they possibly can.”

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