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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(NIAID) released an unusual statement early Tuesday expressing concerns that AstraZeneca's release may have used "outdated information" that "may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data."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Driving the news: Anthony Fauci, who serves as director of NIAID, called AstraZeneca's possible use of outdated information an "unforced error," stressing on Tuesday that "this is very likely a very good vaccine."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

What happens now that emergency orders are lifting

Expand chart
Data: National Academy for State Health Policy and various governor declarations; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Soon, more than half the states will have ended their formal emergency declarations for the pandemic — which could have ripple effects across the economy.

Why it matters: Lifting those orders will allow businesses to serve more customers, but will also end certain safety nets, including expanded food and housing assistance, as well as eviction protections.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

500 Hong Kong police officers raid pro-democracy newspaper

Chief Operations Officer Chow Tat Kuen (front 2nd R) is escorted by police from the Apple Daily newspaper offices before being put into a waiting vehicle in Hong Kong on Thursday. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong's Apple Daily said 500 police officers searched the pro-democracy newspaper's offices and arrested five senior executives on Thursday.

Why it matters: The arrests of the paper's chief editor, Ryan Law, along with its chief operating officer, two other editors and the CEO of Next Digital, which operates Apple Daily, were made under China's national security law — which gives the government broad power to limit people's political freedom.

World Bank rejects El Salvador's request to help implement bitcoin

President Nayib Bukele, giving a speech in El Salvador's legislative assembly in San Salvado earlier this month, pushed for bitcoin to become legal tender. Photo: Emerson Flores/APHOTOGRAFIA/Getty Images

The World Bank has rejected the government of El Salvador's request to help the country implement Bitcoin as legal tender, Reuters first reported late Wednesday.

Why it matters: The international lender's rejection could hamper the government's goal of making the digital currency accepted across the country within three months.