Come and join us on 6 July and hear 4 AIM CEO’s speak. Brad George, Orosur CEO updates us on Colombia’s Tier-1 gold mine potential, Cliff Gross, CEO at Tekcapital explains how investors benefit from a special dividend. Please register here.

Less Ads, More Data, More Tools Register for FREE

Pin to quick picksAstrazeneca Share News (AZN)

Share Price Information for Astrazeneca (AZN)

London Stock Exchange
Share Price is delayed by 15 minutes
Get Live Data
Share Price: 8,479.00
Bid: 8,478.00
Ask: 8,481.00
Change: 64.00 (0.76%)
Spread: 3.00 (0.04%)
Open: 8,380.00
High: 8,496.00
Low: 8,354.00
Yest. Close: 8,415.00
AZN Live PriceLast checked at -

Watchlists are a member only feature

Login to your account

RNS Alerts are a premium feature

Login to your account

myTerminal is a premium feature

Login to your account

Don't have an account? Click here to register.

INSIGHT-Top scientists question the need for COVID-19 booster shots

Thu, 13th May 2021 11:00

By Julie Steenhuysen and Kate Kelland
May 13 (Reuters) - COVID-19 vaccine developers are making
ever bolder assertions that the world will need yearly booster
shots, or new vaccines to tackle concerning coronavirus
variants, but some scientists question when, or whether, such
shots will be needed.
In interviews with Reuters, more than a dozen influential
infectious disease and vaccine development experts said there is
growing evidence that a first round of global vaccinations may
offer enduring protection against the coronavirus and its most
worrisome variants discovered to date.
Some of these scientists expressed concern that public
expectations around COVID-19 boosters are being set by
pharmaceutical executives rather than health specialists,
although many agreed that preparing for such a need as a
precaution was prudent.
They fear a push by wealthy nations for repeat vaccination
as early as this year will deepen the divide with poorer
countries that are struggling to buy vaccines and may take years
to inoculate their citizens even once.
"We don't see the data yet that would inform a decision
about whether or not booster doses are needed," said Kate
O'Brien, director of the Department of Immunization, Vaccines
and Biologicals at the World Health Organization (WHO).
O'Brien said the WHO is forming a panel of experts to assess
all variant and vaccine efficacy data and recommend changes to
vaccination programs as needed.
Pfizer Inc Chief Executive Albert Bourla has said
people will "likely" need a booster dose of the company's
vaccine every 12 months - similar to an annual flu shot – to
maintain high levels of immunity against the original SARS-CoV-2
virus and its variants.
"There is zero, and I mean zero, evidence to suggest that
that is the case," countered Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"It's completely inappropriate to say that we're likely to
need an annual booster, because we have no idea what the
likelihood of that is," Frieden, who now leads the global public
health initiative Resolve to Save Lives, said of Pfizer's
assertions on boosters.
Pfizer, responding to the criticism, said it expects a need
for boosters while the virus is still circulating widely. That
could change once the pandemic is more firmly under control, a
company spokeswoman said.
Moderna Inc CEO Stephane Bancel aims to produce a
vaccine by the fall that targets a variant first identified in
South Africa and expects regular boosters will be needed.
The United States is preparing to have such doses on hand
for Americans, while the European Union, Britain and Israel have
ordered new supplies of COVID-19 vaccines to deploy as
protective boosters.
Some health experts, including Richard Hatchett, chief
executive of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations
(CEPI) that has funded many vaccine projects, say vaccine makers
are right to plan ahead for boosters given the uncertainty over
what will be needed in the long run.
Governments can then decide for themselves whether to buy
the products, he said.

"A LITTLE EVIDENCE"
Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE have so far
found that their shot remains more than 91% effective for six
months after people received their second dose, compared with
nearly 95% demonstrated in their clinical trial. The companies
will track how robust the protection remains over time.
Dr. William Gruber, Pfizer's senior vice president of
vaccine clinical research and development, told Reuters earlier
this month the prediction for yearly boosters was based on "a
little evidence" of a decline in immunity over those six months.
Pfizer expects the COVID-19 vaccine to be a major revenue
contributor for years, and has forecast sales of $26 billion
from the shot in 2021. Global spending on COVID-19 vaccines and
booster shots could total $157 billion through 2025, according
to U.S. health data firm IQVIA Holdings .
Moderna President Stephen Hoge expects boosters will be
needed to keep immunity levels high, due in part to vaccine
hesitancy, as an estimated 30% of the U.S. population may not
agree to be vaccinated. As long as the virus is circulating
widely, people at high risk of severe illness may need to boost
their immune protection, Hoge said.
"All governments are in conversations with (Moderna) and
other companies about boosters," he said.

BROADER IMMUNITY?
Late last year, scientists were optimistic that highly
effective vaccines could quickly curb the global pandemic that
has battered economies and killed more than 3.4 million people.
Those hopes dimmed by February with evidence that mutant
versions of the virus might evade protection offered by
vaccines. Laboratory studies showed that the South African
variant could produce six to eight-fold reductions in antibody
levels among people vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna
vaccines.
Clinical trial data also showed that vaccines from
AstraZeneca Plc , Johnson & Johnson and Novavax
Inc were less effective at preventing infections in
South Africa, where the variant is widespread.
These studies spurred drug companies to start testing
booster doses of their vaccines and to develop shots that target
specific variants of the virus.
However, more recent research suggests that the Moderna and
Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines produce high levels of protective
antibodies to create a "cushion effect" against the known
variants, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National
Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a top
White House adviser.
And antibodies - which block the coronavirus from attaching
to human cells - do not tell the whole story. Several studies
suggest that T cells - a type of white blood cell that can
target and destroy already infected cells - may help prevent
severe COVID-19 and hospitalization.
NIAID researchers found that T cells in the blood of people
who recovered from the original virus could still fight off
infections caused by the concerning variants found in the UK,
South Africa and Brazil.
"It's quite possible" that boosters would not be needed,
Fauci told Reuters. "It is conceivable that the variants will
not be as much a problem with a really good vaccine as we might
have anticipated."
Nevertheless, health authorities in the United States,
Britain and Europe are assuring their populations that a new
round of shots will be available if needed, with many nations
still desperate for vaccine supplies.
"It's a huge concern that ... wealthy countries would begin
administering booster doses and further constraining supply of
people's first dose of vaccine," said Rajeev Venkayya, head of
global vaccines for Takeda Pharmaceutical Co .
Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease doctor at the
University of California, San Francisco, said ultimately,
decisions on whether boosters will be needed "will best be made
by public health experts, rather than CEOs of a company who may
benefit financially."


(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago and Kate Kelland in
London; Additional reporting by Michael Erman in Maplewood,
N.J.; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Bill Berkrot)

More News

UPDATE 1-South Africa to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations as opposition protests

(Updates with EFF march)JOHANNESBURG, June 25 (Reuters) - Several thousand supporters of a leftist party demonstrated outside the offices of South Africa's health regulator on Friday to protest against the slow coronavirus vaccine roll-out in Afr...

Today 14:08

UPDATE 1-Denmark continues exclusion of J&J, AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines

(Adds confirmation, health agency comment, includes AstraZeneca shot)COPENHAGEN, June 25 (Reuters) - Danish health authorities said on Friday that COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson would remain excluded from Denmark's vacci...

Today 12:12

UPDATE 2-Denmark continues exclusion of J&J, AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines

(Adds details, background)By Nikolaj SkydsgaardCOPENHAGEN, June 25 (Reuters) - Health authorities in Denmark said on Friday that COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson would remain excluded from the country's vaccine roll-out fol...

Today 12:12

Denmark continues to exclude J&J COVID-19 vaccine from national roll-out - TV 2

COPENHAGEN, June 25 (Reuters) - Denmark will continue to exclude Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine from its national vaccine roll-out, broadcaster TV 2 reported on Friday without specifying its sources.It did say whether AstraZeneca's shot woul...

Today 11:56

South Africa aims to more than double daily COVID-19 vaccinations over next month

JOHANNESBURG, June 25 (Reuters) - South Africa aims to more than double the rate of daily COVID-19 vaccinations over the next month to more than 200,000 as more Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson shots arrive, health officials said on Friday.The countr...

Today 11:10

Swiss health ministry data shows vaccinated people seldom hit by COVID-19

By John MillerZURICH, June 24 (Reuters) - Switzerland's move to allow large public events with 10,000-plus people from Saturday comes as government data appears to show vaccines are helping control new infections that are mostly hitting people who...

24 Jun 21 17:36

Oxford researchers say they developed blood test predictor of vaccine efficacy

By Ludwig BurgerFRANKFURT, June 24 (Reuters) - Researchers at Oxford University said on Thursday they have developed a method to predict the efficacy of new COVID-19 vaccines based on a blood test, potentially offering a short-cut around massive c...

24 Jun 21 16:01

UPDATE 2-FTSE 100 rises on dovish BoE; miners, pharma stocks lead gains

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)* BoE maintains loose monetary policy* AstraZeneca, Anglo American top boosts to FTSE 100* Carnival falls after $2 billion quarterly loss* FT...

24 Jun 21 09:58

AstraZeneca, MSD prostate cancer drug gets China green light

(Sharecast News) - AstraZeneca and MSD's Lynparza prostate cancer drug has been granted conditional approval in China after a successful phase three trial, the companies said on Thursday.

24 Jun 21 07:34

Seychelles looking to diversity economy beyond tourism post-COVID - minister

By Omar MohammedNAIROBI, June 23 (Reuters) - Seychelles said on Wednesday it is looking to diversify its economy beyond its mainstay of tourism into areas such as fisheries after visitor numbers were battered by restrictions to arrest the spread o...

23 Jun 21 13:37

Wednesday broker round-up

(Sharecast News) - Hunting: JP Morgan upgrades overweight with a target price of 290p.

23 Jun 21 13:04

UPDATE 1-GSK pledges sales boost after split from consumer arm

(Adds details, background)June 23 (Reuters) - New GSK, the pharmaceuticals business being separated from its consumer health operations, pledged to increase sales by more than 5% a year to 2026, the group said on Wednesday, as it published details...

23 Jun 21 11:35

UPDATE 2-GSK's drugs arm to get $11 bln windfall from consumer spin-off

* GSK consumer arm to be demerged in middle of 2022* Drugs business to get 8 bln stg dividend from consumer arm* Lower debt ratio, dividend to boost finances of drugs arm (Adds CEO comment, detail, background)By Ludwig Burger and Pushkala AripakaJun...

23 Jun 21 11:35

UPDATE 3-GSK's drugs arm to get $11 bln booster from consumer spin-off

* GSK consumer arm to be demerged in middle of 2022* Drugs business to get 8 bln stg dividend from consumer arm* Lower debt ratio, dividend to boost finances of drugs arm (Adds details on dividend, debt, Pfizer comment, updates shares)By Ludwig Bur...

23 Jun 21 11:35

GSK sets out plans for listing of consumer products venture

June 23 (Reuters) - Britain's GSK on Wednesday unveiled a detailed plan to spin off its consumer healthcare venture with Pfizer into a separate company by the middle of next year, as the pharmaceutical giant sharpens its focus on prescription med...

23 Jun 21 11:10

Login to your account

Don't have an account? Click here to register.

Quickpicks are a member only feature

Login to your account

Don't have an account? Click here to register.