70% efficacy: Astrazeneca to seek emergency use listing from WHO, focus on low-income countries

Soon after Astrazeneca announced the Oxford vaccine has shown 70 per cent efficacy, the company said the immediate next step would be to seek an emergency use listing from the World Health Organization for an “accelerated pathway to vaccine availability in low-income countries.” It will also prepare regulatory submission of data to authorities around the world that have a framework in place for conditional or early approval.

“These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives. Excitingly, we’ve found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90% effective and if this dosing regime is used, more people could be vaccinated with planned vaccine supply. Today’s announcement is only possible thanks to the many volunteers in our trial, and the hard working and talented team of researchers based around the world,” professor Andrew Pollard, chief investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial at Oxford, said.

The vaccine stopped an average of 70% of participants in a study from falling ill, an early analysis of the data show. The findings were reviewed after 131 trial participants contracted Covid-19, and are based on two different dosing regimes. However, none of those 131 patients had to be hospitalised.

One dosing regimen (n=2,741 showed vaccine efficacy of 90% when AZD1222 was given as a half dose, followed by a full dose at least one month apart, and another dosing regimen (n=8,895 showed 62% efficacy when given as two full doses at least one month apart. The combined analysis from both dosing regimens (n=11,636 resulted in an average efficacy of 70%.

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Astrazeneca said the company is making rapid progress in manufacturing with a capacity of up to 3 billion doses of the vaccine in 2021 on a rolling basis, pending regulatory approval. The vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2-8 degrees Celsius/ 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit for at least six months and administered within existing healthcare settings.

70% efficacy: Astrazeneca to seek emergency use listing from WHO, focus on low-income countries