The Astrazeneca/Oxford vaccine offers only limited protection against mild disease caused by the South African variant of the coronavirus, according to a Financial Times report, which cited an early-stage trial by the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and Oxford University.
An AstraZeneca (AZN) spokesperson told the FT that, “this small phase I/II trial, early data has shown limited efficacy against mild disease primarily due to the B.1.351 South African variant… However, we have not been able to properly ascertain its effect against severe disease and hospitalization given that subjects were predominantly young healthy adults.”
AstraZeneca said that the neutralizing antibody activity of the vaccine was equivalent to that of its peers, and the company believes that it could protect people against severe cases of the coronavirus.
According to the FT report, the trial has not been peer reviewed but none of the more than 2,000 people, half of which received the placebo, had been hospitalized or died.
Last month, AlphaValue analyst Amandeep Goyal upgraded AstraZeneca to Buy from Sell following the UK’s emergency use approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, saying “sentiment around Astra’s share price should improve finally.”
Consensus among analysts is a Strong Buy based on 6 Buys and 1 Hold. The average analyst price target of $67.50 suggests upside potential of around 36% over the next 12 months.
AstraZeneca receives a 2 out of 10 on TipRanks’ Smart Score, which reflects the stock’s relative underperformance compared to the rest of the market.