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AstraZeneca acknowledged on Tuesday morning that a press release about its U.S. coronavirus vaccine trial was based on data through Feb. 17, and promised to release more complete results that are "consistent with" the interim data within the next 48 hours.

Why it matters: The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) released an unusual statement early Tuesday expressing concerns that AstraZeneca's release may have used "outdated information" that "may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data."

  • NIAID urged the company to work with the independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), which was cited in the release, to "review the efficacy data and ensure the most accurate, up-to-date efficacy data be made public as quickly as possible."
  • AstraZeneca committed in its statement to "immediately engage" with the DSMB to share its primary analysis, which it said is "consistent with the interim analysis."

Driving the news: Anthony Fauci, who serves as director of NIAID, called AstraZeneca's possible use of outdated information an "unforced error," stressing on Tuesday that "this is very likely a very good vaccine."

  • The British-Swedish pharmaceutical company said an interim analysis of its Phase III U.S. trial had found the vaccine to be 79% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 and 100% effective against severe disease and hospitalization.
  • AstraZeneca also said the data showed no serious side effects among the more than 20,000 participants who received at least one dose — news that was seen as likely to bolster global confidence in a vaccine that was briefly suspended in European countries over concerns about possible blood clots.

What they're saying: "If you look at it, the data are quite good, but when they put it into the press release it wasn't completely accurate," Fauci said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

  • "So we have to keep essentially trying as hard as we can to get people to understand that there are safeguards in place. And I think the Data and Safety Monitoring Board picking up this discrepancy was an example of the safeguard," he continued.
  • "And at the end of the day, Robin, all of this is going to be decided by the FDA. They will independently go over every bit of data themselves and not rely on any interpretation from anyone including the company."

Go deeper: Science is suffering from low research standards

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 8 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 8 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.