AstraZeneca announced Monday morning its COVID-19 vaccine, AZD1222, given in the United Kingdom and Brazil showed 90% effectiveness in preventing the virus after half a dose and then a full dose one month later. It is only 62% effective if given two full doses a month apart.

The trial had 23,000 volunteers.

It’s a good thing the smaller dose shows more promise than the two full doses. The result means costs will remain low and AstraZeneca can provide more doses of the vaccine.

From the press release:

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%. All results were statistically significant (p<=0.0001). More data will continue to accumulate and additional analysis will be conducted, refining the efficacy reading and establishing the duration of protection.

An independent Data Safety Monitoring Board determined that the analysis met its primary endpoint showing protection from COVID-19 occurring 14 days or more after receiving two doses of the vaccine. No serious safety events related to the vaccine have been confirmed. AZD1222 was well tolerated across both dosing regimens.

AstraZeneca will apply for an “Emergency Use listing from the World Health Organization” so the vaccine can ship out soon. It hopes to have 3 billion doses ready in January 2021.

Overall, none of the volunteers had severe cases of the coronavirus or had to be hospitalized.

Only 131 volunteers came down with COVID-19.

This is the third vaccine to come out this month to prevent COVID-19. Pfizer and Moderna each have a vaccine with a 95% prevention rate.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine is cheaper and can easily travel compared to Pfizer’s:

AstraZeneca, which has vowed not to make a profit on the shots during the pandemic, plans to charge about $2.50 per dose. Pfizer’s vaccine will cost about $20 a dose while Moderna’s will range from $15 to $25.

AZD1222 can be transported under “normal refrigerated conditions” of 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit, the company said. Pfizer’s vaccine, meanwhile, requires specially designed “thermal shippers” that use dry ice to keep temperatures around minus-94 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

 
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