Global covid program called Covax has made strides in an ambitious effort to deploy future vaccines equitably around the world, getting dozens of countries to join and securing deals for 700 million doses
Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine shows strong immune response in elderly.
Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine candidate shows a strong immune response in adults in their 60s and 70s, according to researchers, raising hopes that it can protect age groups most at risk from the virus.
Researchers say the Lancet phase two findings, based on 560 healthy adult volunteers, are encouraging.
Oxford finding itself in race of efficacy lagged behind Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik and Moderna has issued its revised efficacy to match variant three in market.
Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine can be up to 90% effective, trial showsA COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford,British pharma AstraZeneca was found to have an average efficacy rate of 70% following a large-scale trial.
The trial involved two separate dosing regimens, one which showed a 90% efficacy rate, and the other with 62%. Professor Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and Chief Investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial, said the results “show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives.”
Three vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik and Moderna – have already reported good preliminary data from phase three trials, with one suggesting 94% of people over 65 could be protected from Covid-19.
Older people’s weaker immune systems generally mean vaccines do not tend to function as well as they do in younger people. But, these trial results from the University of Oxford, peer-reviewed in the Lancet, suggest that may not be a problem. They show that older adults aged 56-69 and over 70 had a similar immune response to younger adults aged 18-55.
Dr Maheshi Ramasamy, an investigator at the Oxford Vaccine Group, said two weeks after the second dose, more than 99% of participants of all ages had neutralising antibody responses.
The T-cell response – another measure of how well the immune system responds – peaked two weeks after the first dose of the vaccine, regardless of age.
The robust antibody and T-cell responses seen in older people in the study are encouraging, Dr Ramasamy said. The populations at greatest risk of serious Covid-19 disease include people with existing health conditions and older adults and hence, this vaccine may help to protect some of the most vulnerable people in society, he said.
Pfizer applied Friday for an emergency use authorization in the U.S., and may begin the rollout in mid-December. While wealthy nations are in a position to receive the first supplies of the Pfizer and Moderna shots thanks to significant quantities they’ve snapped up in advance, most regions are depending heavily on companies following the front-runners, especially AstraZeneca, Novavax Inc. and Johnson & Johnson. Supplies will likely struggle to meet demand in the months after vaccines arrive, raising concerns about global access.
“The vast majority of the global population live in low- and middle-income countries,” said Mark Eccleston-Turner, a law and infectious disease specialist at Keele University in England. “It’s not just a problem for people over there, far away from us. This is a problem for most people in the world.”
A global program called Covax has made strides in an ambitious effort to deploy future vaccines equitably around the world, getting dozens of countries to join and securing deals for 700 million doses so far.
AstraZeneca reached an agreement to supply the initiative, while a collaboration including the Serum Institute of India agreed to accelerate the production of Astra or Novavax shots for low- and middle-income nations, priced at a maximum of $3 per dose, with an option to secure more. A Covax pact with Sanofi and partner GlaxoSmithKline Plc followed last month.
The program, led by the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, expects more deals in the coming weeks. Pfizer and BioNTech, along with Moderna, remain in talks with Covax.
AstraZeneca has easily been the most active in reaching supply accords. Of all the volumes committed globally, almost a third — about 3.2 billion doses — are set to come from the U.K. company, according to Airfinity. More than 50 lower- and middle-income countries would receive Astra and Oxford’s shot, in regions including Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe, along with wealthy governments too, the research group found.
If the vaccine is successful, fulfilling that demand won’t be easy. In the U.K., a shortfall in supplies of the shot expected by the end of the year casts doubt on how swiftly AstraZeneca will be able to immunize the public. Yet the company has said it’s confident it can begin supplying hundreds of millions of doses on a rolling basis once it gains approval.
One of the key factors behind the reliance on the Astra-Oxford vaccine is the initial price. Astra has said it won’t profit during the pandemic and that the vaccine will cost between $4 and $5 a dose, though health advocates worry what that company and others will charge when the crisis is deemed over.