The University of Oxford and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca have become the latest developers to release initial data regarding the effectiveness of their Covid-19 vaccine candidate.
Interim data from Phase III trials has revealed that their vaccine is 70.4 percent effective at preventing Covid-19 and the news comes hot on the heels of positive results from other manufacturers. Pfizer PFE +1.4 percent and BioNTech were the first to publish interim results earlier this month showing that their vaccine is more than 90 percent effective and final data from trials showed that it provided an even higher level of efficacy at 95 percent. On November 16, Moderna also reported exceptional interim trial results that arrived at 95 percent efficacy.
Even though it wasn’t as widely reported at the time, the Russian Ministry of Health announced that its Gam-COVID-Vac jab, better known as Sputnik V, is 92 percent effective. Being developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, the vaccine has proven controversial as it was approved for distribution despite being tested in a small number of people.
While experts have urged caution at the size of the Russian trials, they still agreed that the results are encouraging.
Elsewhere, China’s Sinovac Biotech vaccine has shown success in mid-stage trials, producing an immune response in trials involving 700 people.
While the fresh data from the Oxford University/Astra Zeneca trial may initially seem slightly disappointing in comparison with the results from other manufacturers, it can achieve up to 90 percent protection if a half dose is taken initially, followed by a full dose.
Despite its lower efficacy from a single dose, the shot has been shown to work effectively in different age groups, particularly the elderly.
It is also substantially cheaper than other Covid-19 vaccines as well as much easier to store, meaning it is set to play a vital role in ending the pandemic, particularly in poorer nations.
The process for developing the vaccine would take up to 10 years under normal circumstances but it has been completed in just 10 months.
Now that there are several viable vaccines offering a high level of protection, the next stage involves getting them approved and distributed.
The United States USM -0.5 percent, United Kingdom and Germany have all announced plans to commence vaccinations in December while Spain is aiming to have a quarter of its population vaccinated within the first three months of 2021.
Dr Moncef Slaoui, head of the U.S. Covid-19 vaccine program, said that the first Americans could receive their shots as soon as 11 December.
Pfizer and BioNtech submitted an application in the U.S. on Friday for emergency authorization for use of their vaccine and the Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisory committee is set to meet on 10 December to decide whether or not to authorize it. – Forbes Africa