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Covid Trials Continue While Rollout Begins

We’ve all heard rumours about the Covid vaccine that Pfizer has created, suggesting it’s not very user friendly. It has to be frozen and then it’s diluted with water and has to be used within five days. It sounds better than nothing, but let’s be honest, it just sounds like a good start. There’s also a vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca called AZD-1222 that’s currently undergoing clinical trials.

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Covishield

Covishield is the name AstraZeneca have given to their product. It might shield you from Covid, but there’s a chance that the side effects mean it won’t make it to market. A trial during December in Chennai left one volunteer with neurological problems which left him unable to work. The volunteer was so severely affected that he’s sought compensation from the pharmaceutical company, but the Serum Institute of India, who undertook the testing, deny any side-effects, so we’re in the dark over whether or not Covishield is safe.

Small mistake

The initial testing suggested the vaccine was 70 per cent efficient. Scientists believed a regime of full doses would result in a 90 per cent success rate. A small error occurred during the trials that skewed the numbers. The 3,000 subjects who volunteered for the tests were given an incorrect dosage. The company blamed a manufacturing fault but pointing fingers doesn’t matter. The mistake means that the initial research has to be ignored.

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Dosage

Volunteers were administered a half-dose. While it’s great that they weren’t overdosed, it means results from the first trial cannot be accurately analysed. Thankfully, further trials suggest the vaccine is 60 per cent effective, which is good enough in the current circumstances to warrant its rollout.

Phase 3

The third phase of trials is the most critical, and it will begin very soon. It will be the largest scale trial. Researchers expect the trial to identify possible side-effects and any additional complications. Even though trials did not go smoothly, the mistakes identified will help push scientists in the right direction. Time was lost due to those errors, but experts believe Covishield will be the vaccine chosen by governments worldwide because it’s easier to handle and distribute. Further trials continue.

Pfizer

Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine has taken a massive step in the UK as the American pharmaceutical company has received approval to begin a rollout. According to gov.uk, “The vaccine appears to be safe and well-tolerated, and there were no clinically concerning safety observations.” The government are not taking any chances, as gov.uk explains, “While there is some evidence to indicate high levels of short-term protection from a single dose of vaccine, a two-dose vaccine schedule is currently advised in accordance with regulatory approval.”

Rollout

During December, the vaccine was administered to those aged 80 and over in 50 NHS hubs as well as care home workers. Those over 80 who aren’t already in hospital are invited to come into hospitals for the vaccine. Reports suggest that the rollout is not happening quickly enough. The NHS needs to administer 2 million vaccines per week, or the UK will face a third wave. The study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) also suggests that the new strain has increased transmission buy 56 per cent.

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