AstraZeneca Reports COVID-19 Vaccine up to 90 Percent Effective

November 23, 2020 Updated: November 23, 2020

Trials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca CCP virus vaccine showed it had an efficacy rate of between 62 percent and 90 percent depending on dosage combinations, researchers announced on Monday.

The vaccine was 62 percent effective at preventing CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus infections when patients were given two full doses one month apart, but up to 90 percent effective when given a half dose followed by a full dose one month later, AstraZeneca said in a statement.

The trial, which consisted of over 23,000 volunteers from the UK and Brazil, gave half the volunteers the AZD 1222 vaccine and the other half a placebo. Global trials involving countries such as the United States, Japan, and Russia, are expected to eventually involve up to 60,000 volunteers.

“These  findings  show  that  we  have  an  effective  vaccine  that  will  save  many  lives,” professor Andrew Pollard, chief investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial at the University of Oxford, said in a statement.

“Excitingly, we’ve found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90 percent effective and if this dosing regime is used, more people could be vaccinated with planned vaccine supply.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock welcomed the announcement, telling Sky News, “This is really encouraging news.”

“Of course, it’s vital that the independent regulator, the MHRA, will need to look at the data, will need to check to make sure that it’s effective and safe,” he added, saying that if all regulatory checks are passed, the “bulk of the roll-out will be in the new year”.

The vaccine’s cost to governments works out at just a few pounds a shot, a fraction of the price of shots from Pfizer and Moderna, which use a more unconventional technology.

It can also be transported and stored at normal fridge temperatures, which proponents say would make it easier to distribute, especially in poor countries, than Pfizer’s, which needs to be shipped and stored at -70 C. Pfizer last week reported a 94 percent efficacy in people over 65.

Oxford last week also said their vaccine triggers a “robust” immune response in people in their 60s and over 70.

“Older adults are a priority group for COVID-19 vaccination because they are at increased risk of severe disease—but we know that they tend to have poorer vaccine responses,” Dr. Maheshi Ramasamy, an investigator at the Oxford Vaccine Group and consultant physician, said in a statement.

“We were pleased to see that our vaccine was not only well tolerated in older adults; it also stimulated similar immune responses to those seen in younger volunteers.”

AstraZeneca stated on Monday that it will now seek an “Emergency Use Listing” from the World Health Organization in order to accelerate availability of the vaccine to low-income countries. The company also stated that they are making progress in their manufacturing capabilities and hope to produce 3 billion doses of the vaccine in 2021.

The UK government has currently ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, manufactured by AstraZeneca, compared to 40 million doses of the rival Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and just 5 million from the other candidates by Moderna.

Reuters and Simon Veazey contributed to this report.