Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine accredited by UK regulator

A Brazilian doctor will voluntarily receive an injection in July 2020 as part of phase 3 studies with a vaccine developed by Oxford University and the UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

Nelson Almeida | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON – The coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca has been approved for emergency use in the UK. This is another step in the global fight against the pandemic.

The shot is expected to be launched next week and added to the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, which has so far been given to 600,000 people in the UK, according to government statistics.

In a statement, AstraZeneca said the first doses of the vaccine would be released on Wednesday “so that vaccinations can start early in the new year”.

She added that it “plans to deliver millions of cans in the first quarter” as part of its agreement with the UK government to deliver up to 100 million cans in total. As a two-dose vaccine, according to the agreement, it could vaccinate up to 50 million people in the UK of around 66 million people.

However, the UK government said in a statement on Wednesday that the Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee, which advises it on vaccination programs, had recommended “giving their first dose to as many people in risk groups as possible, rather than”. Providing the required two doses in as short a time as possible. “

“Everyone will continue to receive their second dose within 12 weeks of the first. The second dose completes the course and is important for longer term protection,” he added.

UK Government Secretary Michael Gove had said Monday that approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine could expedite the lifting of strict lockdowns in the country, effectively canceling Christmas celebrations for millions.

Cases have soared in London and the south of England and hospitals have come under significant pressure. A new variant of the coronavirus in the UK is reportedly more transferable and has resulted in travel restrictions for people trying to leave the country.

“An important day”

With the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the UK can significantly accelerate its vaccination program. It’s also cheaper than others and doesn’t need to be stored at extremely low temperatures.

Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer of AstraZeneca, said in a statement: “Today is an important day for millions of people in the UK to gain access to this new vaccine. It has been shown to be effective, well-tolerated, and easy to administer Delivered by AstraZeneca with no profit. “

AstraZeneca’s vaccine is a viral vector vaccine based on a weakened version of the common cold virus that causes infections in chimpanzees. It is designed to prepare the immune system to attack the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2 when it later infects the body.

Dr. Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the medical journal The Lancet, told CNBC in December that these benefits meant more effective use around the world.

“The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is currently the vaccine that can immunize the planet more effectively and faster than any other vaccine we have,” said Horton, adding that it is important to think about vaccine vaccination on a global scale, “Because yourself if we immunize a country the threat is that you will reintroduce the virus from another country that is not protected. “

The confusion over the trial dates in November led to criticism of AstraZeneca. The first numbers suggest the vaccine may help reduce the spread of Covid-19 and prevent disease and death. This study also found an efficacy of 62% for subjects who were given two full doses, but 90% for a subgroup who received half a dose followed by a full dose.

Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed ​​of the White House, and others in the US expressed concern about the age group tested, saying the 90% effectiveness was only shown for the lowest risk group, the 2,741 people among 55 years.

AstraZeneca said Wednesday that “additional safety and efficacy data for the vaccine will continue to accumulate from ongoing clinical trials”. It added that it continues to work with regulators around the world “to support their ongoing ongoing reviews of emergency supplies or conditional marketing authorizations during the health crisis”.

She added that she is seeking emergency listing with the World Health Organization “for an accelerated path to vaccine availability” in low and middle income countries.

– CNBC’s Sam Meredith contributed to this article.

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