AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine can be 90% effective, results show

British drugs group AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford say their jointly-developed vaccine against COVID-19 has shown “an average efficacy of 70 percent” in trials.

“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,” AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot said in a statement on Monday.

The results ranged between 62 and 90-percent efficacy, depending on the vaccine dosage.

The 70-percent average is lower compared with the efficacy of coronavirus vaccines trialled by rivals Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna which have come in above 90 percent.

Monday’s statement said: “Positive high-level results from an interim analysis of clinical trials of AZD1222 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.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter: “Incredibly exciting news the Oxford vaccine has proved so effective in trials… There are still further safety checks ahead, but these are fantastic results.”

Matt Hancock, health secretary, told BBC TV: “We hope to be able to start vaccinating next month.

“The bulk of the vaccine rollout programme will be in January, February, March. And we hope that sometime after Easter things will be able to start to get back to normal.”

It added: “One dosing regimen (n=2,741) showed vaccine efficacy of 90 percent when AZD1222 was given as a half dose, followed by a full dose at least one month apart.”

The pair said that regimen n=8,895 showed 62-percent efficacy when given as two full doses at least one month apart.

“The combined analysis from both dosing regimens (n=11,636) resulted in an average efficacy of 70 percent.”

AstraZeneca said it would “immediately prepare regulatory submission of the data to authorities around the world that have a framework in place for conditional or early approval”.

It added that it would seek emergency-use listing from the World Health Organization to accelerate vaccine availability in low-income countries.

AstraZeneca said it is looking at a capacity of up to three billion doses of the vaccine in 2021 pending regulatory approval.

It said the vaccine can be stored, transported and handled “at normal refrigerated conditions” of between two and eight degrees Celsius (36-46 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least six months.

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