According to tests on thousands of volunteers, the Oxford vaccine, which is being developed by AstraZeneca is up to 90% effective in preventing COVID-19. The result compared with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which were recently shown to be 95% and 94.5% effective respectively.
“We have a vaccine for the world,” Professor Andrew Pollard, chief investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial at Oxford, said, adding that “It’s a really exciting day.”
For one course of dosing – where people were given a half dose of AZD1222, followed by a full measure at least a month after – there was an efficacy rate of 90%. When two full doses were given, at least a month apart, the efficacy stood at 62%.
Some 2,471 people were on the course which proved to be 90% effective, while 8,895 were given two full doses. With all results tabulated, the average efficacy is around 70%.
Professor Pollard went on: “We think that by giving a smaller first dose we are setting up the immune response better to respond. We will dig in more to that. We have started work this morning.”
He added: “It’s critical to understand what everyone is measuring. What counts as COVID disease varies between different protocols.
“If you are only counting hospitalisations then we would have bigger efficacy. We count mild disease and that is much harder to protect against.”
The results will be submitted to a scientific journal for peer review within 24 hours.
Meanwhile, Professor Sarah Gilbert from Oxford also said that there was a reduction in asymptomatic infections following administration of the inoculation.
“It looks like the vaccine is protecting against severe disease and mild disease – that it is going to make a big difference to transmission. It is good news all round,” she said.
AstraZeneca is also one of the pharmaceutical giants with which the European Commission has agreements in place, to allow the purchase of the vaccine, including for Malta.