AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage tests showed that the coronovirus vaccine was up to 90 percent effective, prompting public health officials to expect they may have access to the vaccine sooner than some of its rivals Easy to deliver.
The results are based on an interim analysis of trials in the UK and Brazil which are vaccines developed by Oxford University and produced by AstraZeneca. No hospital or serious cases of Kovid-19 were reported among those receiving the vaccine.
“These findings suggest that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives,” Professor Andrew Pollard of Oxford University, the trial’s lead investigator, said in a statement. “Excitedly, we have found that one of our doses can be approximately 90% effective.”
AstraZeneca is the third major pharmaceutical company to report late-stage results for its Kovid-19 vaccine as the world anxiously awaits the vaccine which has killed approximately 1.4 million people. Pfizer and Moderna reported preliminary results from late-stage trials last week that their vaccines were about 95 percent effective.
Unlike Pfizer and Modern vaccines, the Oxford-AstraZeneca candidate does not have to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, making it easy to distribute, especially in developing countries. All vaccines must be approved by regulators before they are widely distributed.
“The Oxford vaccine can be stored in the fridge, as opposed to the freezer, like the other two vaccines, meaning it is a more practical solution for worldwide use,” Peter Horby, Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases And Global Health at Oxford.
The results come as the second wave of Kovid-19 hits many countries, once again shutting down businesses, limiting social interaction and accelerating the world economy.
AstraZeneca said it would immediately apply for early approval of the vaccine where possible, and it would seek a list of emergency uses from the World Health Organization, so it could make the vaccine available in low-income countries.
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The AstraZeneca test looked at two different dose regimens. At least one month after the full dose one half of the vaccine dose was 90% effective. Another approach, giving patients two full doses a month apart, was 62% effective. The combined results had an average efficacy rate of 70 percent.
The vaccine uses a weaker version of a common cold virus paired with genetic material for the specific spike protein of the virus that causes Kovid-19. After vaccination, the spike protein induces the immune system to attack the virus if it subsequently infects the body.
AstraZeneca stated that the vaccine could be transported under “normal refrigerated conditions” of 2–8 ° C (36–46 ° F). By comparison, Pfizer plans to deliver its vaccines using specially designed “thermal shippers” that maintain dry ice temperatures of minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus -94 degrees Fahrenheit). uses it.
Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said that a small initial dose is more effective than a big news because it can reduce costs and mean more people can be vaccinated.
“The report that an initial half dose is better than a full dose seems to be the usual prescription for those of us thinking about the vaccine: with drugs, we expect that the higher the dose the larger There are effects, and there are more side effects, ”he said. “But the immune system doesn’t work that way.”
The results reported on Monday came from tests in the UK and Brazil that involved 23,000 people. Late trials are also underway in the US, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Kenya and Latin America, with further testing planned for other European and Asian countries.
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AstraZeneca is increasing manufacturing capacity, so it can supply hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine starting in January, chief executive Pascal Soriot said earlier this month.
Soriot said on Monday that the Oxford vaccine’s simple supply chain and AstraZeneca’s commitment to provide it on a non-profit basis during the epidemic meant it would be affordable and available to people around the world.
“The efficacy and safety of this vaccine confirms that it will be highly effective against Kovid-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency,” Sorot said.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he felt “a great sense of relief” at AstraZeneca’s news.
The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, and the government says several million doses can be produced before the end of the year if approved by regulators.
A few months ago, “the idea that by November we would have three vaccines, all of which got high effectiveness … I would have given my eye teeth,” Hancock said.