The cheap and easy-to-store AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine, approved by UK regulator on Wednesday, has given the global fight against coronavirus a shot in the arm.
Here are five facts about the highly anticipated vaccine.
The main advantages of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine are that it is inexpensive, costs around £ 2.50 ($ 3.40) per dose, and is easy to store.
It can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures between two and eight degrees Celsius, which makes it ideal for large-scale vaccination programs.
In contrast, the Moderna vaccine must be stored at -20 ° C while the Pfizer / BioNTech product must be stored at -70 ° C.
According to Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, the vaccine should be able to fight the new variant of the coronavirus, which is responsible for a large number of cases in the UK.
“So far we think the vaccine should stay effective. But we can’t be sure, so we’re going to test it,” he told the Sunday Times.
New versions are being developed just in case, he added, adding, “You have to prepare.”
Developed by the UK company AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University, the vaccine is the second to be approved by the Independent Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA).
The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine has been in use in the UK since December 8th. Almost 800,000 people are getting their first dose, according to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
His government is battling one of the world‘s worst outbreaks, with more than 71,000 deaths so far that have tested positive for the disease.
The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine, of which 40 million will be available by the end of March. The vaccinations are due to start on January 4th.
AstraZeneca expects to manufacture around three billion doses of its vaccine worldwide by 2021.
The vaccine is “virus-vectored,” meaning that it is a version of a virus that normally infects chimpanzees and has been modified with part of the Covid-19 coronavirus called the “spike protein” to fire the immune system .
In human cells, the vaccine should stimulate the production of antibodies that recognize the virus.
The vaccine is “safe and effective”. This emerges from data published December 8th in The Lancet Medical Journal. Only one of the 23,754 volunteers who took part in the studies had “potentially related serious side effects”.
This was a case of a rare neurological disorder with transverse myelitis that forced the studies to be temporarily suspended.
The UK laboratory announced in interim results in November that its vaccine was on average 70 percent effective, compared with more than 90 percent at Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna.
The effectiveness of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine was 90 percent for volunteers who received only half a dose and then a full dose a month later, but only 62 percent for another group vaccinated with two full doses one month apart .
A half-dose injection was accidentally done, criticizing the robustness of the results and leading the company to announce on Nov. 26 that an “additional study” would be conducted on the effectiveness of the reduced dose.
“We think we figured out the formula for success and figured out how to get effectiveness that would be anybody else’s after two doses,” Soriot told the Sunday Times.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)