The phase 3 interim analysis of Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine candidate showed 70.4 per cent efficacy in preventing the disease, the University of Oxford announced on Monday. In two different dosing regimens, the vaccine, AZD1222, showed the efficacy of 90 per cent and 62 per cent.
In the dosing regimen with higher efficacy, AZD1222 was given as a half dose, followed by a full dose at least one month apart. Another dosing regimen showed lower efficacy when given as two full doses at least one month apart. The combined analysis from both dosing regimens resulted in an average efficacy of 70 per cent.
"Positive high-level results from an interim analysis of clinical trials of AZD1222 in the UK and Brazil showed the vaccine was highly effective in preventing COVID-19, the primary endpoint, and no hospitalisations or severe cases of the disease were reported in participants receiving the vaccine," AstraZeneca said in a statement.
How does it stack against Moderna, Pfizer?
While 70 per cent efficacy of AZD1222 would have been considered a huge breakthrough a month back, it is relatively low when compared to 95 per cent efficacy of vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna.
However, the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has an advantage in terms of storage since AZD1222 can be stored at fridge temperature, while Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines need to be stored at a much colder temperature.
Pfizer's vaccine candidate needs ultra-cold storage at around minus 75°C and can be kept in the fridge for five days. Moderna's vaccine, mRNA-1273, is expected to remain stable at standard refrigerated conditions of 2°C to 8°C for up to 30 days within the 6-month shelf life.
Oxford vaccine also scores better on pricing as it costs a fraction of the price set by Pfizer and Moderna and will be manufactured in multiple countries, including India and Brazil. On Thursday, Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer of Serum Institute of India told Hindustan Times that, in India, Oxford vaccine will be priced at Rs 500-600.