Oxford’s Covid vaccine will protect 95% of patients, AstraZeneca CEO

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The coronavirus vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca would protect “95% of patients” who receive it, said Pascal Soriot, the CEO of the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which has collaborated to carry out its Covid-19 vaccine with the University of Oxford and the Pune-based SII.

Experts say Oxford’s vaccine may be the first to be authorized by the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) for emergency use. Others in the fray include the Covid vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech and the Covaxin vaccine by ICMR-Bharat Biotech.

Once the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is authorised by the regulator, mass vaccination centers, including stadiums and conference venues, are prepared for its launch in the early January.

Pfizer is yet to publish the date of its late-stage clinical trials, with its vaccine showing an efficacy rate of over 94 percent. Likewise, Bharat Biotech is still in the process of completing its clinical trials for Phase III. Moreover, as compared to those produced either by the US pharmaceutical giants Pfizer or Moderna, the Oxford vaccine is simpler to store and costs less.

Pascal Soriot, chief executive of AstraZeneca, said that new research would show that the vaccine is as safe as the already approved Pfizer and Moderna jabs, protects 95 percent of patients, and is 100 percent effective in preventing serious illnesses requiring hospital care. He said it should be successful against the new highly transmissible strain of the deadly virus, which, after its rapid spread was detected, placed England under full lockdown again.

Soriot went on to say that the scientists have worked out a winning formula with everyone else to get efficacy up there. AstraZeneca, too, has yet to publish information confirming these claims. Asked whether the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will be successful against the latest Covid-19 mutant variant found in the United Kingdom and other parts of the globe, Pascal Soriot said it ought to be.

The interim results of the Phase III studies of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine in November showed an efficacy rate of 70% compared with the average of two separate dosing regimens. One of these regimens (a half dose followed by a full dose) demonstrated a 90 percent efficacy rate.

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