AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine seems to be much less efficient than its counterparts – nevertheless it has some benefits

AstraZenecas building in Luton, UK.

Tim Ireland | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

LONDON – The coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University has been shown to be “highly” protective and may pave the way for a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its counterparts.

An interim clinical trial analysis found that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine had an average effectiveness of 70% in protecting against the virus.

The researchers said that by adjusting the dose, that number could go up to 90%, but the overall results show that the vaccine’s effectiveness is slightly less than other leading candidates.

Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna reported preliminary results last week that showed their respective Covid vaccines were about 95% effective.

White House coronavirus advisor Dr. However, Anthony Fauci previously said that a vaccine that was 50% or 60% effective against the virus would be acceptable.

It is hoped that a Covid vaccine can help end the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 1.3 million people worldwide.

Major challenges remain before a vaccine can be introduced. The global struggle to secure potential shipments has raised concerns about fair access while questions about the logistics of mass production, distribution and cost remain.


Jefferies’ stock analysts said it was “difficult” to compare the effectiveness of AstraZeneca’s vaccine with that of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, citing significant differences in how the studies were conducted.

The analysts highlighted the weekly wipe to detect Covid-19 among the participants in AstraZeneca’s studies – not just confirmation of suspected cases through symptoms as in US studies. They also emphasized that a meningococcal vaccine was used for comparison, not a placebo.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was assessed via two dosage regimens. One showed 90% effectiveness when study participants received half a dose, followed by a full dose at least a month later.

The other showed 62% effectiveness when given in two full doses at least a month apart.

No hospitalizations or serious illnesses were reported in the participants who received the vaccine.

A motorcyclist wears a protective mask while sitting by the roadside on the Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, India on Thursday, October 22, 2020. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government will ensure that all 1.3 billion people across the country have access to a Covid-19 vaccine once it’s ready.

Sumit Dayal | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Jefferies analysts said AstraZeneca’s vaccine appears to have an advantage in terms of storage, affordability and distribution.

The UK pharmaceutical company said its vaccine could be stored, transported and handled and administered in existing healthcare for at least six months under normal refrigeration conditions (36-46 degrees Fahrenheit). It has also committed to distributing the vaccine “for the duration of the pandemic” for no profit.

The Financial Times previously reported that the price for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which requires two doses, is between $ 3 and $ 4 – significantly lower than the prices quoted for Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

By comparison, Moderna has stated that its vaccine candidate will remain stable for up to 30 days at the temperature of a regular household refrigerator. It can also be stored at minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit for up to six months.

In August, the US biotech company announced it was charging some customers $ 32 to $ 37 per dose for its vaccine.

The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine requires a storage temperature of minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit and requires special storage facilities and transportation. This could make it difficult for some countries to disperse.

Pfizer reportedly charges $ 20 per dose for its vaccine.

“Great Beneficiaries”

Deutsche Bank strategists dubbed AstraZeneca’s news Monday a “big deal” and said a string of encouraging vaccine developments in the past few weeks was “an unprecedented victory for science”.

They suggested that emerging economies, particularly Brazil, Mexico, India and Indonesia, are likely the “big beneficiaries” of the AstaZeneca vaccine. That’s because “AstraZeneca’s cheaper production and distribution costs are particularly relevant to low- and middle-income countries,” they said.

AstraZeneca has announced that it is making “rapid progress” in manufacturing and manufacturing up to 3 billion doses of the vaccine over the next year.

The US and India have agreed to source 500 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. This is based on data compiled by researchers at Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Center.

The EU has signed a $ 400 million purchase agreement and the COVAX facility, a global initiative to ensure equitable access to Covid-19 treatments and vaccines, has ordered 300 million.

The UK, Japan, Indonesia, Brazil and Latin America excluding Brazil have each confirmed orders of at least 100 million cans.

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