A researcher in a laboratory at the Jenner Institute in Oxford, England, works on the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. (Photo: AP-Yonhap News)
AstraZeneca said on Thursday further research is needed on its COVID-19 vaccine after questions emerged over the protection it offers.
The British drug manufacturer and its partner, the University of Oxford, had announced on Monday that it was seeking regulatory approval for the vaccine after it showed to be 70 percent effective on average, and 90 percent effective with a half-dose followed by a full dose.
But U.S. scientists pointed out that the higher rate of efficacy came during tests in people aged 55 and under, and was discovered by accident during clinical trials.
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot told Bloomberg, "Now that we've found what looks like a better efficacy, we have to validate this, so we need to do an additional study."
Soriot said he was confident the additional trial would not delay regulatory approval in Europe.
There are high hopes for the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, given that it could be cheaper to make and easier to store.
A rival vaccine by Pfizer/BioNTech requires temperatures of -70 Celsius, driving up costs and potentially making it out of reach for lower and middle-income countries.
The World Health Organization said it looked forward to the full publication of the data from the AstraZeneca trial.
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