Another Covid-19 vaccine has been approved for use in United Kingdom.
Britain’s medical regulatory agency announced Wednesday that it has granted emergency authorization of a coronavirus vaccine developed jointly by British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
Late-stage clinical trials of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine revealed it to be 70% effective against COVID-19. The vaccine had a 62% efficacy rate for participants given a full two doses, but tests of a smaller sub-group revealed it to be 90% effective when given a half-dose followed by a full dose weeks later.
The AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine is the second to be approved by Britain for its mass inoculation effort, which began earlier this month with the vaccine developed by U.S.-based Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech. The new vaccine will be distributed across the country within days, with Britain having already ordered 100 million doses.
Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which needs to be stored in super-cold refrigerators at temperatures below 70 degrees Celsius, the newly approved vaccine can be stored at normal temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius, making it easier to transport and administer to people in poorer and remote nations.
UK Health secretary, Matt Hancock revealed that this is a real British success story, a combination of scientists of Oxford University and the UK Vaccines Network, AstraZeneca and other parties.
“This is a really significant moment in the fight against this pandemic because the vaccine is the way out,” he added.
The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson noted that this achievement means that many people will be vaccinated as quickly as possible.