New York Daily News
AstraZeneca-Oxford claims 90% success for COVID-19 vaccine
An experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and drug manufacturer AstraZeneca appears to be up to 90% effective, the two partners announced Monday.
The results come from an early analysis of clinical trials in the U.K. and Brazil, where 23,000 volunteers participated in the ongoing study. AstraZeneca, whose shots are said to be cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its competitors, plans to apply for emergency approval from governments around the world as soon as possible.
The U.K.-based drugmaker is the third major company in recent days to report positive latestage trial results for a potential COVID-19 vaccine, a promising development in the frantic race to end a pandemic that’s upended economies and killed about 1.4 million people.
Pfizer and Moderna each announced last week their shots were nearly 95% effective, though the vaccines will be pricier than AstraZeneca’s “AZD1222” and will need to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures.
AstraZeneca, which has vowed not to make a profit on the shots during the pandemic, plans to charge about $2.50 per dose. Pfizer’s vaccine will cost about $20 a dose while Moderna’s will range from $15 to $25.
AZD1222 can be transported under “normal refrigerated conditions” of 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit, the company said.
Pfizer’s vaccine requires specially designed “thermal shippers” that use dry ice to keep temperatures around minus-94 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Today marks an important milestone in our fight against the pandemic,” AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in a statement Monday.
“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.”
The Oxford-AstraZeneca early analysis found only 131 coronavirus cases among its more than 23,000 participants, none of whom were hospitalized or experienced severe symptoms, following two different dosing regimens.
One of the regimens involved a half-dose of the vaccine followed by a full dose at least one month later, which showed 90% efficacy. The second dosing regimen involved two full doses at least one month apart and resulted in 62% efficacy, leading to a combined efficacy rate of 70%, according to the company.
Clinical trials are still underway in the U.S., Japan, Kenya, Russia, South Africa and across Latin America, with additional trials planned for other European and Asian countries, AstraZeneca said.
The company plans to manufacture up to 3 billion doses of the vaccine in 2021, pending regulatory approval.
Pfizer, which on Friday became the first drugmaker to ask for emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration, could begin delivering a limited supply of its shots as early as next month.
The initial batch would go to healthcare workers, elderly patients and people with underlying medical conditions, according to the company.
Moderna plans to seek emergency authorization within weeks.