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Photo: Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Researchers at Oxford University said Thursday they developed a method for predicting the efficacy of coronavirus vaccines by a blood test.

Why it matters: The model "can be used to extrapolate efficacy estimates for new vaccines where large efficacy trials cannot be conducted," the researchers said in their paper, which was submitted for peer review for publication in a scientific journal on Thursday.

Details: The researchers examined the concentration of a range of virus-fighting antibodies in trial participants' blood after they got the AstraZeneca vaccine.

  • They then compared that data with which of those trial volunteers later developed coronavirus symptoms.
  • The model still requires extensive review to make sure it works for new coronavirus variants, researchers said.

What they're saying: "There is an urgent need to increase supply of vaccines for the world, but development and approval of new vaccines takes many months. We hope that the use of correlates by developers and regulators could speed up the process," Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and lead investigator on the Oxford Vaccine Trial, told Reuters.

Go deeper

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Pfizer booster has 95.6% efficacy, large study shows — FDA authorizes mix-and-match for booster shots — J&J expects $2.5 billion of vaccine sales this year.
  2. Health: Cases and deaths keep falling — White House unveils plan to "quickly" vaccinate kids ages 5-11 — The global coronavirus vaccine gap — Gates Foundation to send $120 million of antiviral pills to lower-income countries.
  3. Politics: Reports: Brazil leader to be accused of crimes against humanity over COVID — Puerto Rico leads U.S. vaccination rates — Hawaii invites fully vaccinated travelers to return from Nov. 1.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Oct 1, 2021 - Health

Before Merck backed COVID antiviral, Trump admin turned it down

Photo illustration: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Trump administration officials fought over whether — and ultimately declined — to fund the same antiviral drug that Merck announced yesterday significantly reduces hospitalizations and deaths among coronavirus patients.

Why it matters: The Trump administration's decision almost certainly delayed the development of the drug. Having an effective antiviral pill during the Delta wave could have substantially reduced its death toll.

Oct 1, 2021 - Health

Sotomayor allows NYC schools' vaccine mandate to stay in place

Photo: Paul Marotta via Getty Images

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Friday blocked a challenge to New York City's vaccine requirement for public school teachers and employees, allowing the mandate to remain in place.

Why it matters: Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in August that all 148,000 staff members of the largest U.S. school district would need to submit proof of at least one dose of a COVID vaccine or risk unpaid leave until September 2022.