AstraZeneca is the third largest pharmaceutical company to report late-stage results on the potential of the COVID-19 vaccine. The world awaits scientific progress that will bring economic devastation and put an end to a pandemic that has confirmed the deaths of about 1.4 million people.
Last week, Pfizer and Moderna reported preliminary results from a late trial showing that the vaccine was nearly 95% effective. However, unlike rivals, the AstraZeneca vaccine does not need to be stored at very low temperatures, making it easier to distribute, especially in developing countries.
“I think these are really exciting results,” said Dr. Andrew Pollard, Principal Investigator of the Exam, at a press conference. “Vaccines can be stored at refrigerator temperature and can be distributed worldwide using the usual immunization distribution system. And our goal is… to ensure that vaccines are accessible from anywhere. So, I think we were able to actually achieve that. “
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is also cheap. AstraZeneca, which promised not to make a profit from the vaccine during a pandemic, has reached an agreement with the government and the International Health Organization to spend about $ 2.50 per dose. Pfizer’s vaccine costs about $ 20 each, while Modana’s vaccine costs $ 15 to $ 25, based on an agreement signed by the two companies to supply the vaccine to the US government.
All three vaccines must be approved by the regulatory authority before being widely distributed.
Oxford researchers and AstraZeneca have emphasized that they are not competing with other projects and that multiple vaccines will be needed to fully grow the world’s population and end the pandemic.
“We don’t think that vaccination works from the perspective of one person at a time. Sara Gilbert, leader of the Oxford research team, said:” And that’s me. It looks like they have the ability to contribute in a really big way. “
The result is a second wave of COVID-19 hitting many countries, closing businesses again, limiting social interaction and damaging the global economy.
AstraZeneca said it would apply for early approval of the vaccine as soon as possible and ask the World Health Organization for an emergency use list to make the vaccine available in low-income countries.
The AstraZeneca trial considered two different dosing regimens. Half the dose of the vaccine followed by the full dose at least one month later was 90% effective. Another approach of giving the patient the full dose twice at monthly intervals was 62% effective. The combined results showed an average efficacy rate of 70%.
Vaccine uses attenuated version cold A virus combined with the characteristic spike protein genetic material of the virus that causes COVID-19. After vaccination, the spike protein stimulates the immune system to attack the virus if it later infects the body.
According to AstraZeneca, vaccines can be transported under “normal refrigeration conditions” at 2-8 degrees Celsius (36-46 degrees Fahrenheit). By comparison, Pfizer plans to distribute the vaccine using a specially designed “thermal shipper” that uses dry ice to maintain a temperature of minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit).
Peter Openshaw, a professor of medicine at Imperial College London, said the finding that lower initial doses are more effective is good news, as it means lower costs and the ability to vaccinate more people. It was.
“The report that the first half dose is better than the full dose seems counter-intuitive to those of us who consider vaccines to be regular drugs. For drugs, higher doses have greater effects and more. I expect it to have side effects, “he said. “But the immune system doesn’t work that way.”
The results reported on Monday come from trials in the UK and Brazil involving 23,000 people. Late-stage trials are also underway in the United States, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Kenya and Latin America, with further trials planned in other European and Asian countries.
Pascal Soriot, CEO, said earlier this month that AstraZeneca has increased its production capacity and will be able to supply hundreds of millions of vaccines starting in January.
AstraZeneca’s efforts to offer Oxford vaccines in a simpler supply chain and non-profit during a pandemic, said Monday, meant that people around the world would be able to afford it.
“We have confirmed that the efficacy and safety of this vaccine is very effective against COVID-19 and has immediate implications for this public health emergency,” Soriot said. I will.
British Health Minister Matt Hancock said he felt “great relief” in the news from AstraZeneca.
The UK has ordered 100 million doses of Oxford vaccine, and the government says it can produce millions by the end of the year if approved by regulators.
Just a few months ago, “the idea that by November there were three vaccines, all of which would be highly effective … I would have been squinting,” Hancock said.
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