Fauci: AstraZeneca likely to release new statement on its COVID-19 vaccine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -AstraZeneca Plc is likely to release a new, modified statement about its COVID-19 vaccine after a data and safety monitoring board expressed concern that the data in its recent public statement were outdated, U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Wednesday.

AstraZeneca said results it published on Monday in which the vaccine had demonstrated 79% efficacy were based on an interim analysis of data through Feb. 17, and it would now “immediately engage” with the independent panel monitoring the trial to share its full analysis. [L1N2LL110]

AstraZeneca will publish up-to-date results from its major U.S. COVID-19 vaccine trial within 48 hours. It said on Tuesday it had reviewed the preliminary assessment of its full analysis and found it to be consistent with the interim report.

Fauci said he was concerned about miscommunication around COVID-19 vaccine efficacy but was confident a revised statement from AstraZeneca would dispel any confusion about that shot’s effectiveness.

Fauci and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, both expressed concern about the trajectory of the pandemic during a briefing with reporters, despite a vaccination program that has led to 84 million people in the United States getting one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“We do have a lot of challenges in front of us with regard to the high level of daily infections yesterday being 54,974,” Fauci said. “When you are at that level, I don’t think you can declare victory.”

White House COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt said the administration was concerned about the new variant of COVID-19 in Brazil and it was having daily discussions with officials in that country.

Reporting by Jeff Mason, Carl O’Donnell, Caroline Humer and Diona ChiacuEditing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bernadette Baum