The University of Oxford has said that its COVID-19 vaccine, which has been developed in collaboration with AstraZeneca, is 70.4% effective.
It has just announced interim trial data from its phase III trials, which show that the vaccine "is effective at preventing COVID-19 and offers a high level of protection".
An analysis of the phase III data indicates that in two different dose regimens, vaccine efficacy was 90% in one and 62% in the other.
"These preliminary data indicate that the vaccine is 70.4% effective, with tests on two different dose regimens showing that the vaccine was 90% effective if administered at a half dose and then at a full dose, or 62% effective if administered in two full doses," the University of Oxford said.
According to Prof Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and chief investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial, the findings show that this is "an effective vaccine that will save many lives".
"Excitingly, we've found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90% effective and if this dosing regimen is used, more people could be vaccinated with planned vaccine supply," he said.
No serious safety events related to the vaccine have been identified and Oxford will now support AstraZeneca in submitting both the interim phase III efficacy data and the extensive safety data to all regulators across the world, including in the UK and Europe, for independent scrutiny and product approval.
Many of these regulators have already been reviewing the trial data on a rolling basis while the trial has been taking place.
Meanwhile, Oxford is also submitting the full analysis on the phase III interim data for independent scientific peer review and publication.
The clinical trials enrolled over 24,000 people from the UK, Brazil and South Africa, while further trials are being undertaken in the US, Japan, Kenya and India, with the researchers expecting to have almost 60,000 participants by the end of 2020.
The Oxford team highlighted that its vaccine can be stored at fridge temperature (2-8 degrees Celsius), meaning that it can be easily distributed using existing medical facilities, such as GP surgeries and local pharmacies. This means that if approved, the vaccine could be deployed very quickly.
This is the third vaccine to release successful preliminary results, following on from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna in recent weeks.
AstraZeneca already has international agreements in place to supply three billion doses of the vaccine. Furthermore, a key element of Oxford's partnership with AstraZeneca is a joint commitment to provide the vaccine on a not-for-profit basis for the duration of the pandemic across the world, and in perpetuity to low and middle-income countries.
"The vaccine's simple supply chain and our no-profit pledge and commitment to broad, equitable and timely access means it will be affordable and globally available, supplying hundreds of millions of doses on approval," commented AstraZeneca CEO, Pascal Soriot.
For more information on the Oxford vaccine, click here.
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