AstraZeneca (NASDAQ: AZN) published data from his phase 3 clinical trials in The Lancet, but the full data set did not answer the most important question as to why half-dose and full-dose worked better than two full doses. In this video from Motley Fool Live, recorded Dec. 14, Corinne Cardina, head of the healthcare and cannabis bureau, and Fool.com contributor Brian Orelli discusses the issue and the possible reasons for the phenomenon. They also discuss why investors should not be particularly concerned about any delays that the data may create.
Corinne Cardina: So, moving on to another vaccine developer, AstraZeneca published their data in real The Lancet. I’m going to go ahead and post that link in the chat. If anyone is interested in seeing that. Brian, was there any new information for investors in this peer-reviewed report?
Brian Orelli: I mean, it had a lot of data for specific domains, but the supplementary data, it’s a 49 – page PDF, so that tells you what data they dropped from the test. But the top-line yield remains the most important thing for investors. The secret here is that the full doses – two full – got an effect of 62% and the half dose at first and then a full dose for the second dose gave 90% effectiveness, but there were relatively small numbers in the that group. It is therefore difficult to determine whether it is in fact 90% or whether it could be higher; it could be lower. I think it’s very difficult to interpret the data, and the other way clinical trials should be combined, which you can do if you have that as you intend to start. But then for sure, that doesn’t seem to be the case, because they use different controls. One group received a meningococcal vaccine as their control and another group received a placebo, as you know, saline solution, as the control.
Cardina: Yeah, we keep an eye on that. The half-dose has been shown to suppress a person’s immune system before receiving that full dose.
Orelli: I think the other idea here is that a full dose could block the second dose. So because of the way the AstraZeneca vaccine works, it uses, like, a cold virus to deliver the DNA that makes the protein that comes out of the vaccine for the coronavirus. So the idea is, if you get a full dose first, you may be overreacting to the second dose and blocking the cold virus before it can capture the cells and proteins essential for the formation of the vaccine.
Cardina: Of course. We hope to find out more about that in the future. So AstraZeneca, of course, has pledged not to make a profit from its vaccine through the pandemic. That doesn’t mean he’s stopped, he couldn’t benefit from a raise if he gets regulatory clearances. Brian, what should investors know about this stock before investing?
Orelli: Yeah, I mean, I think AstraZeneca can clearly benefit after the pandemic ends, and its vaccine has some definite benefits, storage requirements. So I think it can definitely work in rural areas better than Modernaand Pfizer and BioNTech. From an investor’s perspective, AstraZeneca has little time to figure out the downtime as any profits they currently make would not be profitable. From an investor’s point of view, AstraZeneca is not hurt or even take longer than a big deal because they are not going to make any profit from it anyway. From a health perspective, obviously, we want to see it as as high a level of efficiency as possible, and as early as possible.