Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca on Monday declared that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate displayed an average efficacy of about 70%. In another official confirmation, operations executive at AstraZeneca Pam Cheng said that the company will have 200 million doses of its vaccine candidate - Covishield - developed by the University of Oxford, by the end of 2020; and 700 million doses ready globally by the end of the first quarter of 2021.
The clinical trials revealed that one dose regimen showed vaccine efficacy of 90%, when given as half a dose; while another showed 62% efficacy when given as two full doses. The combined analysis from both dosing regimens resulted in an average efficacy of 70%.
In another achievement declared by the Oxford University, a statement reads,"The vaccine can be easily administered in existing healthcare systems, stored at 'fridge temperature' (2-8 degree C) and distributed using existing logistics...this means they can be easily distributed using existing medical facilities such as doctor's surgeries and local pharmacies, allowing for the vaccine, if approved, to be deployed very rapidly." Notably, Moderna's candidate, with a higher efficacy level of 94.5%; and Pfixer's candidate, with 95% average efficacy, require storage temperatures of -20 to -70 degree Celsius and -70 degree Celsius, respectively. This will be a key factor in determining the global reach of all of these vaccines when they start rolling out.
An important development has come through the partnership of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and SII Pune, to conduct phase 2 and 3 clinical trials of Covovax - the vaccine candidate from Novavax. ICMR, the country's apex health research institute, would be funding the clinical trials in India. It is also working closely with SII for the Covishield vaccine trials across 15 centres in India.
"The partnership will see the scientists of both the entities facilitate the advancement of regulatory approvals for Covishield and Covovax while ensuring strict adherence to all the requisite scientific, ethical and regulatory standards," stated Dr. Balram Bhargava, Director General of ICMR.