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Another Study for AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca may conduct another study to clear up confusion about results from a recent trial of its candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, Bloomberg reports.

Last week AstraZeneca, which partnered with Oxford University to develop the candidate vaccine, announced that its late-stage clinical trial indicated that the vaccine could have a high efficacy. In particular, the company said that the vaccine when given as a half-dose followed by a full dose a month later exhibited an efficacy of 90 percent, while two full doses given a month apart had an efficacy of 62 percent.

As NPR notes, having two dosing regimens makes it more difficult to interpret the company's data. Further, it adds it was at first unclear why the trial even had the half-dose-followed-by-a-full-dose group, but it says it seems to have been due to an error. Bloomberg adds that this was not initially disclosed by AstraZeneca or Oxford, leading to concerns about whether they were being transparent.

"Now that we've found what looks like a better efficacy, we have to validate this, so we need to do an additional study," Pascal Soriot, the CEO of AstraZeneca, tells Bloomberg. 

Still, Politico reports that researchers are concerned. "These allegations are worrying," the University of Edinburgh's Eleanor Riley tells it, noting that the issues need to be addressed "clearly and completely."

The Scan

Back as Director

A court has reinstated Nicole Boivin as director of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Science reports.

Research, But Implementation?

Francis Collins reflects on his years as the director of the US National Institutes of Health with NPR.

For the False Negatives

The Guardian writes that the UK Health Security Agency is considering legal action against the lab that reported thousands of false negative COVID-19 test results.

Genome Biology Papers Present Epigenetics Benchmarking Resource, Genomic Architecture Maps of Peanuts, More

In Genome Biology this week: DNA methylation data for seven reference cell lines, three-dimensional genome architecture maps of peanut lines, and more.