The pharmaceutical boss behind the Oxford vaccine says researchers have found a “winning formula” to improve the jab’s efficacy.
Trials of the vaccine, developed by the university along with AstraZeneca, showed an efficacy rate of 90% when people were given half a dose followed by a whole dose at least a month later.
When two full doses were given at least a month apart, the vaccine had an efficacy of 62%, meaning that – when all the results were taken into account, the overall efficacy was 70%.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were shown to be 95% and 94.5% effective respectively.
But Pascal Soriot, chief executive of AstraZeneca, told the Sunday Times: “We think we have figured out the winning formula and how to get efficacy that, after two doses, is up there with everybody else.
Dr Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said: “It looks really promising and it also looks very deliverable.
“We have huge optimism that this is a major part of how we can control the current surge.”
He added that the global impact of this vaccine could be “much greater” than others and that it could “greatly accelerate” the UK’s current vaccination programme.
This comes amid reports that the vaccine could be approved as early as next week, following the approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the first week of December.
According to the Sunday Telegraph, distribution of the Oxford vaccine could begin as early as 4 January with the government hoping that more than two million people could have their first dose within the first two weeks.
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