Watch: British vaccine is at least 70.4% effective against Covid-19, data shows
The vaccine in development from the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca (AZN) has shown efficacy of 70.4% in two large-scale trails, AstraZeneca said on Monday. If a lower dose is used, then a second, full dose, the efficacy is up to 90%, the company said.
“This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency,” AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot said in a statement.
The vaccine is likely to be rolled out to NHS and in the rest of UK by next month. Mat Hancock, health secretary told BBC’s Radio 4 on Tuesday that he is confident of the rollout of Oxford vaccine to begin in December.
AstraZeneca is the latest pharma company to announce positive results with a vaccine candidate, after Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) last week said their mRNA vaccine successfully protected 95% of trial participants within four weeks of receiving the first dose.
Pfizer has submitted its vaccine to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for approval. The Telegraph reported on Sunday that the UK may grant approval of the Pfizer vaccine this week.
Last Monday (16 November), US-based Moderna (MRNA), announced on Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate has shown efficacy of 94.5% during the phase 3 trials of 30,000 participants in the US.
The UK, US, and Germany are planning to start vaccinating citizens in December, beginning with the most at-risk groups of the population.
German health minister Jens Spahn told publishing group RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland on Sunday that “there is reason to be optimistic that there will be approval for a vaccine in Europe this year, and then we can start right away.”
Spahn said that Germany has secured more than 300 million vaccine doses via the European Commission, noting that, “even with two doses per immunisation we would have enough for [Germany's] own population and could share with other countries.”
Merkel concerned about poor countries
UN secretary general António Guterres, said the vaccine needed to reach everyone in the world, and must be “treated as a global public good, a people’s vaccine accessible and affordable to everyone, everywhere.”
However, German chancellor Angela Merkel said she was worried as wealthy nations were making deals and buying up vaccines for their citizens, while there were still supply agreements in place for poorer countries.
"We will now speak with GAVI [the global vaccine alliance] about when these negotiations will begin, because I am somewhat worried that nothing has been done on that yet," Merkel said.
"The most important thing now is that Covax uses the money it has to negotiate with the manufacturers of potential vaccines. Just having money in the account is not enough. It must also result in something for the developing countries."
Watch: Oxford vaccine shows similar results in all age groups