Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca announced on Monday that interim analysis of their Covid-19 vaccine showed it having an average efficacy of 70% in protecting the body from contracting the virus. The news comes shortly after Pfizer and Moderna announced their late-stage clinical trial results that showed both their vaccines testing at a 90-95% efficacy.
A Covid-19 vaccine could very much bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic for the world. So far the virus has infected over 59 million people and killed 1.4 million people.
The AstraZeneca vaccine was developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford, and was tested in two different dosage regimens. One of the dosing regimens showed the vaccine as testing at 90% effective when participants only received half of a dose, followed by a full dose one month later. The other regime showed a 62% efficacy when participants were given two full doses one month apart.
This means the average effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine is initially 70%, although no hospitalizations or severe cases of the virus appeared during the trial. Professor Andrew Pollard is the chief investigator for the Oxford Vaccine Trial and recently released a statement regarding this accomplishment.
“These findings show that we have an effective vaccine and excitingly, we’ve found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90% effective and if this dosing regime is used, more people could be vaccinated with planned vaccine supply.”
More than 23,000 volunteers participated in the trials for AstraZeneca and while a majority of the participants were based in the UK and Brazil, the University of Oxford claims more international data should be available in the coming weeks. That initial analysis could sway the actual efficacy of the vaccine, however, it’s not likely.
“This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency.”
Pascal Soriot is the CEO of AstraZeneca an recently spoke with the press about this “important milestone” in the fight against Covid-19. “The vaccine’s simple supply chain and our non-profit pledge and commitment to broad, equitable and timely access means it will be affordable and globally available, supplying hundreds of millions of doses on approval.”
AstraZeneca also claimed it would be immediately preparing their data submission to send out to various health authorities around the world. This way organizations like the CDC and FDA can have a basic framework to work with for when the vaccine is actually ready for distribution. One of the biggest perks of this vaccine is that it can be stored much easier than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine.
“I think there’s also one very important advantage of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, the ease to use it at refrigerator temperature I think is a very important element of our vaccine so that also, patients and people in low-income countries and middle-income countries can benefit,” said executive vice president of AstraZeneca’s biopharmaceuticals business unit, Ruud Dobber.
AstraZeneca claims its vaccine can be stored, transported, and handled at normal refrigerated conditions; between 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.