The effectiveness of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine; depended on the dosing and fell to just 62% when given as two full doses; rather than a half-dose first. But scientists cautioned against seeing this as evidence that it would be less useful than rivals. Vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna each prevented about 95% of cases according to interim data from their late-stage trials.
Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London said, “I think it is a real fool’s errand to start trying to pick these three (Pfizer/ Moderna/Astra) apart on the basis of snippets of phase 3 data from the press release.”
The vaccine was 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 when it was administered; as a half dose followed; by a full dose at least a month later, according to data from late-stage trials in Britain and Brazil. No serious safety events were confirmed, as per the company.
Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford University vaccine group that developed the drug said that “This means we have a vaccine for the world.”
The vaccine’s cost works out at just a few dollars a shot, a fraction of the; price of drugs from Pfizer and Moderna, which use a more unconventional technology. And it can be transported; and stored at normal fridge temperatures, which proponents; say would make it easier to distribute, especially in poor countries, than Pfizer’s which needs to be shipped; and stored at -70C, the sort of temperature typical of an Antarctica winter.
Pascal Soriot, Astra’s chief executive said, “For the bigger picture, my suspicion is that; the time we are a year down the line, we will be using all three vaccines with; about 90% protection and we will be a lot happier.”
The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines by volume, has partnered with Oxford AstraZeneca, the Gates Foundation, and the Gavi vaccine alliance to produce more than a billion doses of a COVID-19 vaccine for global supply.
AstraZeneca’s preliminary trial comes as a new wave of infections has hurt economies, particularly in Europe and the United States. Nearly 1.4 million people have died in the global COVID-19 pandemic. Britain is among countries that pre-bought large quantities of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine; and officials there said its success means normal life can return sooner. Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the results as “incredibly exciting”.
Shares and oil process rose as investors bet the rollout of another vaccine would revive the global economy next year. The STOXX index of Europe’s 600 largest shares rose 0.5% to its highest since February. Nevertheless, AstraZeneca’s own shares fell 1.5% as traders perceived the efficacy data as disappointing compared with rivals.