AstraZeneca and Oxford University on Monday said their jointly created COVID-19 vaccine has proven to be up to 90% effective and easier to distribute than another potential vaccine, which must be kept at sub-zero temperatures.
“These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives,” said Oxford University professor Andrew Pollard, who served as the lead investigator for the drug’s trials. “Because the vaccine can be stored at fridge temperatures, it can be distributed around the world using the normal immunization distribution system. And so our goal … to make sure that we have a vaccine that was accessible everywhere, I think we’ve actually managed to do that.”
The results are based on interim analysis of trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil and there were no hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19, The Associated Press reported.
Two other drug makers in recent weeks have also announced successful tests of COVID-19 vaccines.
A new Moderna vaccine that was developed in conjunction with the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed is nearly 95% effective, according to the company.
“The analysis evaluated 95 confirmed Covid-19 infections among the trial’s 30,000 participants,” CNBC reported earlier this month. “Moderna, which developed its vaccine in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said 90 cases of Covid-19 were observed in the placebo group versus 5 cases observed in the group that received its two-dose vaccine. That resulted in an estimated vaccine efficacy of 94.5%.”
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said 20 million doses will be available by the end of the year, Fox News reported.
The pharmaceutical company Pfizer said on Nov. 9 that its developmental vaccine for COVID-19 may be 90% effective at inoculating people against the disease. The rate of effectiveness was calculated by analyzing early data from 94 trial participants in a study involving 43,538 subjects from all over the world. The small early sample means that the protection rate could change by the time the study ends and all the participants are accounted for, according to the AP.
A key advantage of Moderna’s vaccine is that it does not need sub-zero storage like Pfizer’s, which will make it easier to distribute.
“Overall, if both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are approved by the FDA, the U.S. could have as many as 60 million doses of vaccine available by the end of the year,” Fox reported. “[T]he government could have access to more than 1 billion doses from the two vaccine makers alone by 2021.”
But the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is cheaper than both of the others. “AstraZeneca, which has pledged it won’t make a profit on the vaccine during the pandemic, has reached agreements with governments and international health organizations that put its cost at about $2.50 a dose. Pfizer’s vaccine costs about $20 a dose, while Moderna’s is $15 to $25, based on agreements the companies have struck to supply their vaccines to the U.S. government,” the AP reported.