New York Daily News

As­traZeneca-Ox­ford claims 90% suc­cess for COVID-19 vac­cine

- BY NEL­SON OLIVEIRA

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.

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