AstraZeneca said on Monday its vaccine for the novel coronavirus could be around 90% effective without any serious side effects, the latest drugmaker to unveil positive interim data in a scientific race to curb a global pandemic.
The vaccine developed by Oxford University was 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 when it was administered as a half dose followed by a full dose at least one month apart, according to data from the late-stage trials in Britain and Brazil. Trials also took place in Japan, India and South Africa, the company said on its website.
Another dosing regimen showed 62% efficacy when given as two full doses at least one month apart and the combined analysis from both dosing regimens resulted in an average efficacy of 70%. All results were statistically significant.
No serious safety events related to the vaccine have been confirmed and it was well tolerated across both dosing regimens, it said.
"This vaccine's efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency," Pascal Soriot, Astra's chief executive, said in a statement.
The British drugmaker's preliminary trial results mark a fresh breakthrough in the fight against a pandemic that has killed nearly 1.4 million people and roiled the global economy.
The interim analysis was based on 131 infections among participants who received the vaccine and those in a control group who were given an established meningitis shot.
Israel has reached an understanding with AstraZeneca to receive about 10 million doses of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, a joint statement from the Israeli government and the drug maker said on Friday.
Details of the agreement were being finalized, the statement said, without giving an expected signing date.
An initial supply is expected to arrive in Israel in the first half of 2021, subject to approval by regulatory authorities in Europe, the United States and Israel, the statement said.
The vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and its partner Oxford University is likely to be a two-dose course of treatment, meaning that 10 million doses would cover more than half of Israel’s population of 9 million.
“This is a historic agreement led by the company’s local representation that will enable access to the vaccine for millions of Israeli citizens,” said Ohad Goldberg, chief executive of AstraZeneca Israel.
The data comes after U.S. rivals published interim data in recent weeks showing efficacy of more than 90%.
On Nov. 16, U.S.-based Moderna Inc said its experimental vaccine proved to be 94.5% effective based on an early data analysis.
A week earlier, Pfizer Inc and Germany's BioNTech SE said their vaccine candidate had demonstrated greater than 90% efficacy that rose to 95% with analysis of full trial data.
Russia's Sputnik-V vaccine on Nov. 11 was also shown to be more than 90% effective, though only based on 20 infections.