The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca released positive results for their COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.
In a statement, they said the vaccine, delivered via two shots a month apart, is 70% effective.
The figure is an average of two methods: when patients got two full doses it was 62% effective; but when they got a half-dose first and then a full dose the figure was 90%.
It follows results being released for two other vaccines — developed by Pfizer and Moderna — which are 95% effective.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is cheaper to produce and easier to transport than the earlier two.
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The COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and The University of Oxford is 70% effective, according to large-scale trial results announced on Monday.
In a press release, AstraZeneca said its trial of more than 20,000 volunteers showed the vaccine stopped people from developing symptoms in 70% of cases on average. Oxford described the news as a “breakthrough.”
The news follows recent announcements that the vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna were 95% effective.
The latest candidate is injected in two doses at least one month apart, a similar format to the other vaccines.
The trial found that the effectiveness of the vaccine varies depending on the size of the doses — an unexpected finding.
When patients were given two full doses, the vaccine was found to be 62% effective.
However, when patients had a half-dose in their first shot, followed by a full dose the second time, the effectiveness rose to 90%.
Taking both methods together, this produced an average effectiveness of 70%, AstraZeneca said.
It is not clear why the methods had different rates of effectiveness.
—University of Oxford (@UniofOxford) November 23, 2020
According to the BBC, although less effective overall, the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot is cheaper to produce and easier to store than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. AstraZeneca aims to distribute three billion doses in 2021.
The technology was developed by the University of Oxford and its spin-out company, Vaccitech. AstraZeneca signed a deal with the university in April 2020 to further develop, mass-produce, and potentially distribute the vaccine.
It had a setback in September when trials were put on hold, following an “unexplained illness” in one UK trial participant.
The trials re-started when regulators in the US, UK, Brazil, South Africa, and Japan confirmed that it was safe to do so. In its press release, Oxford said that “no serious safety events related to the vaccine have been identified.”
Since then its results have been promising, with results from Phase 2 trials published in the Lancet in November suggesting that the vaccine did produce an immune response, and was safe across all generations.
The next step is to submit to regulators across the world.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA), the regulatory body for Europe, has already started evaluating the vaccine’s lab data in a “rolling review” process meant to help the agency move faster.
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