Originally Published on 28 November 2020

Serendipity means occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. 

AstraZeneca says Serendipity’ boosted Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine’s efficacy.

As trials showed 70% efficacy, however from another set of trials efficacy was 90%, that happened when the participants were administered as a half dose followed by a full dose a month later. 

This was due to dosing error by AstraZeneca that resulted in trial participants getting administered half dose and they this realized only when the participants showed side-effects, but they continued the trials by giving a full dose a month later.

In the end, it is good that results are good, especially when for better performance you need half of the 2nd dose. 

AstraZeneca seemed to be happy as the results are now comparable to other 2 vaccines by Pfizer & Moderna and proudly called it Serendipity, believing everyone should be happy, as all’s well that ends well…

I am wondering what would have happened if the results of this dosing error were disastrous like people receiving the wrong dose instead of showing better efficacy got poorer results or even could have died from it.

and as these people were the initial set of people receiving the vaccine. The future of this vaccine could have jeopardised due to this error. 

A promising vaccine could have been lost due to this error. 

Fortunately, nothing of that happened, but what does it do to the credibility of the whole process that was followed in the clinical trials.

Questions are being raised about the making sense of the AstraZeneca results. it might be possible the AstraZeneca might not get the license in the USA and Europe or it gets delayed, basically meaning losing the race to other two vaccines in first to market. Share prices have already started underperforming

Hence, I wonder should we call the error a potential “zemblanity”

Zemblanity means “making unhappy, unlucky and expected discoveries occurring by design”, a word coined by William Boyd in the late 20th century as an opposite to Serendipity

AstraZeneca vaccine is real hope for the developing world because of its low cost per dose ($3 Vs $20 & $32-37 for Pfizer & Moderna and easier storage requirement (2-8 degrees Celsius vs minus 80 to minus 20-degree Celsius for other two) 

I hope that AstraZeneca Vaccine comes out of this well and this be a case of Serendipity…

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