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Oxford University vaccine shows 70% protection

Written by on November 23, 2020

The coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford stops 70% of people developing Covid symptoms, a large-scale trial shows.

It is both a triumph and a disappointment after vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna showed 95% protection.

However, the Oxford jab is far cheaper, and is easier to store and get to every corner of the world than the other two.

So it will still play a significant role in tackling the pandemic, if it is approved by regulators.

There is also intriguing data that suggests perfecting the dose could increase protection up to 90%.

The Oxford researchers have performed the normally decade-long process of developing a vaccine in around 10 months.

“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 [the virus],” said the vaccine’s architect Prof Sarah Gilbert.

The UK government has pre-ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, enough to immunise 50 million people.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast we would be “something closer to normal” by the summer but “until we can get that vaccine rolled out, we all need to look after each other”.

More than 20,000 volunteers were involved, half in the UK, the rest in Brazil.

There were 30 cases of Covid in people who had two doses of the vaccine and 101 cases in people who received a dummy injection.

The researchers said it works out at 70% protection.

When volunteers were given two “high” doses the protection was 62%, but this rose to 90% when people were given a “low” dose followed by a high one. It’s not clear why there is a difference.

“We’re really pleased with these results,” Prof Andrew Pollard, the trial’s lead investigator, told the BBC.

He said the 90% effectiveness data was “intriguing” and would mean “we would have a lot more doses to distribute.”

There were also lower levels of asymptomatic infection in the low followed by high dose group which “means we might be able to halt the virus in its tracks,” Prof Pollard said.

In the UK there are four million doses ready to go, with another 96 million to be delivered.

But nothing can happen until the vaccine has been approved by regulators who will assess the vaccine’s safety, effectiveness, and that it is manufactured to high standard. This process will happen in the coming weeks.

However, the UK is ready to press the go button on an unprecedented mass immunisation campaign that dwarfs either the annual flu or childhood vaccination programmes.

(SOURCE : BBC)


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