British pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca said it had found, after new research, “the winning formula” for the covid-19 vaccine, developed in partnership with the University of Oxford, on which the British regulatory agency will comment in the coming days. .
“We believe we have found the winning formula and how to achieve efficacy which, with two doses, is on par,” company executive director Pascal Soriot told the Sunday Times newspaper, adding that the vaccine guarantees ” 100% protection “Against severe forms of covid-19.”
In provisional results from large-scale clinical trials in the UK and Brazil, the UK laboratory announced in November that its vaccine had an average efficacy of 70%, compared to more than 90% of drugs Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna.
Behind the average result lie large differences between two protocols: the efficacy reached 90% for the volunteers who received the first half of the dose and a full dose a month later, but only 62% for another group vaccinated with two full doses.
The results were criticized because an error occurred in the half-dose injection, although a relatively small group followed this protocol. The company later announced that its vaccine needed “further studies.”
The Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine is highly anticipated because it is relatively inexpensive and does not need to be stored as cold as that of Pfizer / BioNTech, for example, which needs to be kept at -70 degrees.
The drug AstraZeneca can be stored in the refrigerator (2 to 8 degrees), which facilitates large-scale vaccination and in nursing homes.
The UK was the first Western country to start vaccination with the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine in early December. It now has the second Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine to gain momentum and reduce the increase curve in cases attributed to the new variant of the coronavirus detected in the country.
In view of the mutation, “we are thinking about when the vaccine should continue to be effective,” said Pascal Soriot. “But we can not be sure and we will do some tests”, he guaranteed, revealing that new versions have been prepared, but he hopes that they are not necessary: ”We must be prepared” .
The UK government said on Wednesday that it had sent complete data from the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine to the UK regulatory agency, MHRA (Regulatory Agency for Medicines and Health Products).
According to the British press, the MHRA is expected to vote on the vaccine in the coming days, with the aim of starting the vaccination on January 4.