The highly anticipated anti-Covid vaccine developed by AstraZeneca / Oxford was approved by the British regulator on Wednesday. Inexpensive and practical, it has many advantages.
Inexpensive, easy to store, effective against the new variant … Here are five things to know about the highly anticipated AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine, approved on Wednesday December 30 by the British regulator.
– Inexpensive and practical
The AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine has the advantage of being inexpensive (around 2.50 euros per dose). It is also easy to store: it can be stored at the temperature of a refrigerator, between two and eight degrees Celsius, unlike the vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech which can only be stored long term at very low temperatures. temperature (-20 ° Celsius for the first, -70 ° C for the second). This facilitates large-scale vaccination.
According to the chief executive of AstraZeneca, the vaccine is capable of fighting the new variant of the coronavirus, which is responsible for an outbreak of cases in the United Kingdom. Against this mutation, “we think for the moment that the vaccine should remain effective,” Pascal Soriot told the Sunday Times. “But we can’t be sure so we’ll do some testing.” He assured that new versions were prepared just in case, while hoping not to need them: “You have to be prepared”.
This vaccine was developed by the British group AstraZeneca with the University of Oxford. It is the second vaccine approved by the MHRA, the British regulator, after that of Pfizer / BioNTech deployed in the United Kingdom since December 8 and administered to more than 600,000 people.
One of the most affected countries in Europe with more than 71,000 deaths, the United Kingdom has ordered 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine, 40 million of which will be available by the end of March. Vaccinations are expected to start on January 4. AstraZeneca says it is capable of manufacturing some three billion doses of its vaccine around the world in 2021.
The Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine is a “viral vector” vaccine: it takes as a carrier another virus (a chimpanzee adenovirus) which has been transformed and adapted to fight Covid-19.
It is the first vaccine whose efficacy results have been validated by a scientific journal, The Lancet, on December 8. According to data published by The Lancet, AstraZeneca’s vaccine “is safe”.
Side effects of the virus are extremely rare at this stage. Of the 23,754 volunteers who took part in the trials, only one patient who received this vaccine experienced a “serious side effect likely to be related” to this injection, according to data published in The Lancet.
It was a case of transverse myelitis (a rare neurological impairment) which had motivated the temporary interruption of the trial in early September.
In the interim results of clinical trials, the British laboratory announced in November that its vaccine was on average 70% effective against more than 90% for those of Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna.
The efficacy of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine is 90% for the volunteers who first received a half-dose, then a full dose a month later, but only 62% for another group which was however more vaccinated. with two full doses one month apart.
The half-dose injection was in fact due to an error and only a small group had followed the second protocol, which caused criticism and concern, prompting the company to announce on November 26 that it would be holding a ” additional study “to verify these results.
“We think that we have found the winning formula and how to achieve an efficiency which, with two doses, is high like that of the others”, assured Sunday the managing director of AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot, to the Sunday Times.