AstraZeneca and Oxford Uni vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 infection, Phase 3 data show

pharmafile | December 9, 2020 | News story | Research and Development AstraZeneca, COVID-19, Vaccine 

The latest efficacy data on the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with the University of Oxford have been revealed, showing that, while not as potentially effective as the mRNA candidates from Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech, the therapy showed real promise in protecting patients from infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The candidate, known as ChAdOx1, is being tested in more than 20,000 participants across trial sites in the UK, South Africa and Brazil, with patients receiving either two doses of the ChAdOx1, or a control therapy of either meningococcal group A, C, W, and Y conjugate vaccine or saline injection.

The data showed that in participants receving two standard doses, the therapy demonstrated an efficacy rate of 62.1%. A sub-population of 1,367 patients in the UK were given a half dose followed by a standard dose, and in this study the vaccine was shown to have an efficacy rate of 90%.

However, no participants in this group were older than 55, excluding the most at-risk patient groups in terms of age. To this, AstraZeneca Executive Vice President Sir Mene Pangalos remarked: “I realise the people that are most severely impacted by disease are the over-65s, over-75s, over-85s, but the reality is we need to actually have vaccines that immunise everyone from adolescence to the oldest adults to really dent the pandemic around the world.”

21 days following initial dosing, ten patients were hospitalised with COVID-19 infection, with two severe cases and one patient death. None of these cases occurred in the vaccine group.  

Only one severe adverse event identified as potentially relating to treatment with the vaccine, and one other such event is currently under investigation. Both participants are recovering and are still taking part in the study.

Ultimately, overall efficacy across both groups was recorded as 70.4%. These findings are broadly in line with interim analysis results from the trial released just over two weeks ago. As it pushes forward with further research on its candidate, AstraZeneca has committed to plans to manufacture three billion doses over the course of next year.

Matt Fellows

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