(CMR) COVID-19 vaccine developer AstraZeneca has been accused of ‘cherry-picking' data to make its vaccine look better.
An independent panel of medical experts who have been examining the company's clinical trial said AstraZeneca jeopardizes the trial's integrity by not including all the data from the trial.
“Decisions like this are what erode public trust in the scientific process,” the oversight board wrote in a two-page letter sent Monday to the company and federal officials.
AstraZeneca's low price and relatively easy storage have made it critical to the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic. It is now being used in a large number of countries, including in the Caribbean.
In a release on Tuesday, the National Institutes of Health said the Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) notified NIAID, BARDA, and AstraZeneca that it was concerned by information released by AstraZeneca on initial data from its COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial.
According to the release, the DSMB expressed concern that AstraZeneca may have included outdated information from that trial, which may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data.
“We urge the company to work with the DSMB to review the efficacy data and ensure the most accurate, up-to-date efficacy data be made public as quickly as possible,” the release stated.
The release also added that authorization and guidelines for using the vaccine in the United States would be determined by the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after a thorough review of the data by independent advisory committees.
On Monday. AstraZeneca announced that its vaccine was 79% effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19 in a U.S. trial, a result that was better than expected based on earlier trials. The company also said the immunization reduced severe Covid-19 and hospitalization by 100%.