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.”
"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.
“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.