The Oxford coronavirus vaccine shows 70 percent effectiveness against people developing COVID symptoms, preliminary trial results suggest. The initial results fall short of the previous two vaccines but it may have the edge in one key area. Speaking to Piers and Susanna on GMB this morning, Dr Hilary pointed out the vaccine can be stored more easily than the Pfizer vaccine that boasts a 95 percent effectiveness.
As he explained, the Pfizer vaccine needs to be kept at -70C, posing significant logistical hurdles to distribution.
By contrast, the Oxford vaccine can be stored at between 2C and 8C, results suggest.
According to Dr Hilary, this “means we might be able to get this out sooner”.
According to the Oxford University press release, the vaccine can distributed using existing logistics.
What else do we know about the vaccine?
The initial 70 percent effectiveness could be improved.
In the two different dose regimens vaccine efficacy was 90 percent in one and 62 percent in the other.
The higher efficacy regime used a halved first dose and standard second dose.
There is also early indication that the vaccine could reduce virus transmission in asymptomatic infections.
There were also no hospitalised or severe cases in anyone who received the vaccine.
Professor Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and Chief Investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial, said:
“These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives. Excitingly, we’ve found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90 percent effective and if this dosing regime is used, more people could be vaccinated with planned vaccine supply.
“Today’s announcement is only possible thanks to the many volunteers in our trial, and the hard working and talented team of researchers based around the world.”
Professor Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Oxford, said:
“The announcement today takes us another step closer to the time when we can use vaccines to bring an end to the devastation caused by SARS-CoV-2. We will continue to work to provide the detailed information to regulators.
“It has been a privilege to be part of this multi-national effort which will reap benefits for the whole world.”
What happens next?
The clinical trials, enrolling over 24,000 participants from diverse racial and geographical groups in the UK, Brazil and South Africa, will now continue to final analysis.
Further trials are being conducted in the United States, Kenya, Japan and India and the trial team expect to have under 60,000 participants by the end of the year.
These trials will provide regulators with further information about the efficacy and safety of the Oxford candidate vaccine, including its ability to both protect against and stop the transmission of COVID-19.
The UK government is reported to have ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine.
How does the vaccine work?
The Oxford vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) is made from a virus, which is a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus), that has been genetically changed so that it is impossible for it to grow in humans.
According to the Oxford vaccine press release, adenovirus vaccines have been researched and used extensively for decades and have the significant benefit that they are stable, easily manufactured, transported and stored at domestic fridge temperature (2-8 degrees C).
Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Oxford, added:
“This is a great day for the University of Oxford and for universities everywhere. Pushing at the frontiers of knowledge with partners across the globe and putting our extraordinary brainpower in service to society, is what we do best.”