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 used by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca has been approved for emergency use in the UK, another step in the global fight against the pandemic.
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.
UK Government Secretary Michael Gove said Monday that AstraZeneca’s vaccine approval could expedite the lifting of strict bans 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 transmissible and has resulted in travel restrictions for people trying to leave the country.
Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine enables the UK to significantly improve its vaccination program. It’s also cheaper than others and doesn’t need to be stored at extremely low temperatures.
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.
– CNBCs Sam Meredith contributed to this article.