Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine is 70.4% effective

astrazeneca vaccine, covid
© Peter Kováč

The UK’s answer to Pfizer and Moderna, the Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine, has proven to be exactly 70.4% effective against COVID-19

Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, commented: “The best we’ve ever done is measles, which is 97 to 98 percent effective. That would be wonderful if we get there. I don’t think we will. I would settle for 70, 75% effective vaccine.”

While Moderna recently unveiled a 94.5% effective vaccine in the wake of Pfizer and BioNTechs’ 90%, experts started theorising the possibilities of the UK vaccine – which uses similar virus technology to the Pfizer drug. This seemed like an early positive omen, especially for the UK population, who are currently facing a tenuous Christmas.

The Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine

The vaccine has been said to be 70.4% effective by officials. The vaccine is known to have an impact on transmission, including in asymptomatic infections. Currently, 24,000 people have been involved in the trial – including groups from Brazil and South Africa, to check that this vaccine works the same for various ethnic groups and climates.

One of the key things about the UK vaccine is that it can be stored at ‘fridge temperature’ (2-8°C), which makes it possible to circulate using existing cold supply chains. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require a much colder storage temperature.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “Incredibly exciting news the Oxford vaccine has proved so effective in trials. There are still further safety checks ahead, but these are fantastic results.”

The US are currently holding their breath for a vaccine mid-December, which is a similar case to the UK – if the vaccines make it through regulatory approval and continue to show strong numbers in the next stage of any ongoing clinical trials.

Co-author, Professor Sarah Gilbert, University of Oxford, UK, says: “The WHO has outlined a number of critical factors for COVID-19 vaccines, including that they must be targeted at the most at-risk groups including older adults. They must also be safe, effective in preventing disease and/or transmission, and provide at least six months of protection for people frequently exposed to the virus – such as healthcare workers.

“Our new study answers some of these questions about protecting older adults, but questions remain about effectiveness and length of protection, and we need to confirm our results in older adults with underlying conditions to ensure that our vaccine protects those most at risk of severe COVID-19 disease.”

Professor Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive of UKRI said: “It’s a Herculean achievement in under a year and a tribute to the dedication of many people – from scientists and clinicians in universities and industry to the trial volunteers – who have come together to deliver this promising vaccine with tremendous speed.”


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