U.K.-based drugmaker AstraZeneca /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN -1.49% said on Monday that the coronavirus vaccine it is developing with the University of Oxford had shown an average efficacy of 70% in the Phase 3 trials, and that it would “immediately prepare regulatory submission” of the data for approval by regulatory authorities around the world, for conditional or early approval.
-The vaccine injected at half a dose followed by a full dose at least one month later showed efficacy of 90%, whereas a full dose followed by another full dose within the same time frame showed only a 62% efficacy, the company said in a release.
-U.S. and European health authorities usually demand a 50% efficacy before green lighting a vaccine.
-“We have an effective vaccine that will save many lives,” said Andrew Pollard, the chief investigator of the trial at the University of Oxford.
-A vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical group Pfizer /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE +1.06% and German partner BioNTech /zigman2/quotes/214419716/composite BNTX +2.35% , and another one by U.S. biotech Moderna /zigman2/quotes/205619834/composite MRNA +5.08% , have both shown efficacy of more than 95% in late-stage trials, according to the companies.
-The head of the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said on Monday it would take a decision on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine candidate “in the shortest time possible.”
-The U.S., U.K. and Germany have announced plans to start inoculating some citizens in December, with Spain preparing a campaign for January.
The outlook: The announcement adds to the string of positive medical news coming from research laboratories and drug companies in the past weeks, and will brighten the Christmas season for households and businesses. But it will take months before populations can be vaccinated on a scale that will start curbing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Expect another few months of COVID restrictions and lockdowns, especially if a third wave of the pandemic is triggered in early January by the easing of the Christmas season and changes of behavior caused by rising optimism about the many vaccines’ efficacy.