AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford on Monday announced that their vaccine candidate has shown an average efficacy of 70 per cent in clinical trials. It is much lower than the efficacy of over 90 exhibited by the vaccine candidates developed by Pfizer and Moderna.
AstraZeneca, however, clarified that one dosing regimen showed vaccine efficacy of 90 per cent when AZD1222 was given as a half dose, followed by a full dose at least one month apart. Another dosing regimen showed 62 per cent efficacy when given as two full doses at least one month apart. The combined analysis from both dosing regimens resulted in an average efficacy of 70%.
Positive high-level results from an interim analysis of clinical trials in the UK and Brazil showed the vaccine was highly effective in preventing COVID-19 and no hospitalisations or severe cases of the disease were reported in participants receiving the vaccine. There were a total of 131 COVID-19 cases in the interim analysis.
Vaccine safe to use
An independent Data Safety Monitoring Board determined that the analysis met its primary endpoint showing protection from COVID-19 occurring 14 days or more after receiving two doses of the vaccine. No serious safety events related to the vaccine have been confirmed. The vaccine was well tolerated across both dosing regimens.
AstraZeneca will now immediately prepare regulatory submission of the data to authorities around the world that have a framework in place for conditional or early approval. It will seek an Emergency Use Listing from the World Health Organisation for an accelerated pathway to vaccine availability in low-income countries. In parallel, the full analysis of the interim results is being submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
3 billion doses in 2021
Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Today marks an important milestone in our fight against the pandemic. 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.”
Furthermore, the vaccine’s simple supply chain and our no-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, he added.
The company is making rapid progress in manufacturing with a capacity of up to 3 billion doses of the vaccine in 2021 on a rolling basis, pending regulatory approval. The vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions for at least six months and administered within existing healthcare settings.
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