German company CureVac’s coronavirus vaccine is far less effective than other jabs already in use, the firm said Wednesday.
The company announced a 47 percent efficacy rate against all COVID-19 cases and said it “did not meet prespecified statistical success criteria” based on the second analysis of a large-scale efficacy trial.
The study involved 40,000 people in 10 countries in Europe and Latin America with at least 13 coronavirus variants circulating, the company said. The “original strain” was “almost completely absent” from the trial.
Of those in the trial, there were 134 COVID cases among people two weeks after they had received the second dose. When sequencing the virus, only one was attributable to the original coronavirus strain. More than half (57 percent) were “variants of concern.” Another 21 percent were from another variant originally identified in Peru and another 7 percent from a variant identified in Colombia.
The final analysis is expected at the end of June
“While we were hoping for a stronger interim outcome, we recognize that demonstrating high efficacy in this unprecedented broad diversity of variants is challenging,” CureVac CEO Franz-Werner Haas wrote in a press release. “In addition, the variant-rich environment underlines the importance of developing next-generation vaccines as new virus variants continue to emerge.”
The company has told the European Medicines Agency about the data. Still, the efficacy rate might improve, as it undergoes further analyses. “As we are continuing toward the final analysis with a minimum of 80 additional cases, the overall vaccine efficacy may change,” Haas wrote.
The vaccine, however, is safe, CureVac wrote.
The vaccine’s disappointing results will be a blow to the EU’s vaccine portfolio, as the bloc secured most of the initial supply of the German mRNA vaccine — up to 405 million doses — and it was the first vaccine to receive the backing of the European Commission. However, the EU has large quantities of another mRNA vaccine, from BioNTech/Pfizer, and is using three other vaccines: Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
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