The United Kingdom could approve AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine as early as next week as the British-swedish pharmaceutical company seems to have found the “winning formula” and a roll out of it’s Oxford University co-developed vaccine is set to offer huge benefits to the country.
In an interview for the Sunday Times newspaper, Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, said:
“We think we have figured out the winning formula and how to get efficacy that, after two doses, is up there with everybody else.”
The UK government has ordered 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, with around 40 million expected to be available by the end of March 2021. If approved, the jab will be the second vaccine available in the UK following the approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech, by British regulators earlier this month.
Rapid distribution of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine expected across the UK
The main advantages the roll out of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 for the UK would include the ease of access to the vaccine, as it will be produced in the country and distribution is not going to be affected by any potential delays due to Brexit. Furthermore, the AstraZeneca and Oxford vaccine is less expensive than the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine and does not require ultra low temperatures for storage and transportation.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine efficiency could reach 90% with revised dosage regiment
In November, AstraZeneca announced phase three trial data for its vaccine candidate which showed that it was between 62% and 90% effective in protecting against COVID-19 in different dosages. The 90% efficacy was achieved when trial participants received a half-dose regimen followed by a full dose, instead of two full doses. AstraZeneca continued the trial to assess the dosing regimen on more participants and it seems that the optimal dosage for the AZD1222 named COVID-19 vaccine has now been established.
AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine “should be” effective against new virus strain
The approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine could greatly accelerate the UK’s ongoing vaccination programme, experts say. Notably, the head of AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot, has added that the vaccine “should be” effective against the recently discovered highly transmissible new strain of the virus. The discovery of the new strain caused huge disruption on transportation of goods through the Dover to Calais ferry route and the cancellation of flights by many countries to and from the UK. Since, the new strain was also discovered in other countries across Europe, including France, Spain and Germany as well as in Australia and Canada.