Story at a glance
- AstraZeneca and Oxford University saw an average of 70 percent efficacy rates across its populations during clinical trials.
- The company intends to file for emergency use authorizations.
More promising vaccine news poured in on Monday, with drugmaker AstraZeneca announcing its COVID-19 vaccine candidate displayed “positive high-level results” following clinical trials. The results are comparable to efficacy rates announced by fellow pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer.
The company stated in a press release that the vaccine candidate, called AZD1222, was given to thousands of volunteers in interim doses.
When given as a half dose followed by a full dose within a month, the vaccine showed an efficacy rate of 90 percent for a portion of the sample population.
When adding two full doses within a month, the efficacy rate stood at about 62 percent. The combined analysis from these two studies averaged to a 70 percent efficacy rate,
“These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives,” said Andrew Pollard, a professor at Oxford University and member of the vaccine development team. “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.”
AZD1222 uses replication-defective viruses developed from a weakened version of the common cold virus as well as genetic material from COVID-19 to help the body stimulate an immune reaction when the coronavirus is detected.
No severe side effects were reported during the trials. AstraZeneca noted that it will begin submitting its data to various regulatory agencies across the world, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency usage.
It will also submit the AZD1222 for an Emergency Use Listing with the World Health Organization to make the vaccine available for low-income countries.
The results published on Monday featured data from volunteers based in the UK and Brazil, but AstraZeneca is conducting other trials across the globe.
AstraZeneca estimates that up to 3 billion doses of the vaccine will be ready by 2021 and given out on a rolling basis. It must be refrigerated but at regular refrigerator temperatures, unlike Pfizer’s vaccine candidate.
“Today marks an important milestone in our fight against the pandemic,” AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in prepared comments. “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.”