• Oxford, AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine have shown up to 90% effectiveness
• The vaccine can be stored in ordinary equipment
• More than 24,000 volunteers were involved in Oxford’s phase three trials in the UK and Brazil
• Millions of doses will be ready by December says health secretary Matt Hancock
Clinical trials of Oxford and AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine have shown that it is up to 90 per cent effective at preventing infection and can be stored cheaply in a fridge.
President of AstraZeneca, Tom Keith-Roach, said yesterday that on top of the four million doses on standby for the UK, a further 15million could be ready to roll out by the end of next month. They will be given to healthcare workers and the elderly first, subject to approval by regulators.
The vaccine is expected to cost just £2 per dose and can be stored in ordinary equipment, unlike other jabs made by Pfizer and Moderna that showed similarly promising results last week but need to be kept in ultra-cold temperatures using expensive equipment. It’s also a fraction of the price, with Pfizer’s costing around £15 per dose and Moderna’s priced at about £26 a shot.
More than 24,000 volunteers were involved in Oxford’s phase three trials in the UK and Brazil, half of whom were given the vaccine and the rest were given a fake jab. There were only 30 cases of Covid-19 in people given the vaccine compared to 101 in the placebo group. None of the participants who took the vaccine fell seriously ill.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock also hailed the results this morning, saying millions of doses will be ready to go by the end of December. He told the BBC: ‘It’s really encouraging news… nobody who took it ended up in hospital or had serious conditions. We hope to be able to start vaccinating next month.
Results from Oxford’s trials will be sent to the British drug regulator, the MHRA, so it can assess the vaccine’s safety, effectiveness, and that it is manufactured to high standard. The MHRA has been doing a ‘rolling review’ of the vaccine and could, as a result, complete the approval process within a matter of days of receiving the data.