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AstraZeneca: COVID-19 vaccine 'highly effective' prevention

AstraZeneca said Monday that late stage trials of its COVID-19 vaccine developed with Oxford University were “highly effective’’ in preventing disease.

The results are based on interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of the vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. No hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were reported in those receiving the vaccine, AstraZeneca said.

“These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives. Excitingly that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90% effective,’’ said Professor Andrew Pollard, the chief investigator for the trial.

The trial looked at two different dosing regimens — a half dose of the vaccine followed by a full dose at least one month apart was 90% effective. A second regimen using two full doses one month apart was 62% effective. The combined results showed an average efficacy rate of 70%.

“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,’’ AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said. “Furthermore, the vaccine’s simple supply chain and our no-profit pledge and commitment to broad, equitable and timely access means it will be affordable and globally available, supplying hundreds of millions of doses on approval.”

Two other drugmakers, Pfizer and Moderna, last week reported preliminary results from late-stage trials showing that their COVID-19 vaccines were almost 95% effective.