By Arré Bench Nov. 23, 2020
Oxford Vaccine, which is being manufactured locally in Pune’s Serum Institute of India, could be up to 90 per cent effective without any serious side effects. The first batch will be delivered as early as January and February next year.
The vaccine race is heating up. After announcements from Pfizer and Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca on Monday announced that its vaccine could be up to 90 per cent effective without any serious side effects.
“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.
Today marks an important milestone in the fight against #COVID19. Interim data show the #OxfordVaccine is 70.4% effective, & tests on two dose regimens show that it could be 90%, moving us one step closer to supplying it at low cost around the world>> https://t.co/fnHnKSqftT pic.twitter.com/2KYXPxFNz1
— University of Oxford (@UniofOxford) November 23, 2020
The vaccine was 90 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19 when administered as a half dose followed by a full dose at least one month apart, according to data from late stage trials in Brazil and Britain. Another dosing regimen showed 62 per cent efficacy when given as two two full doses at least one month apart, and the combined analysis from both dosing regimens resulted in an average efficacy of 70 per cent.
Positive high-level results from an interim analysis of clinical trials of AZD1222 in the UK and Brazil showed the vaccine was highly effective in preventing COVID-19: AstraZeneca pic.twitter.com/oPobtrbR00
— ANI (@ANI) November 23, 2020
What does this positive development mean for India?
The news is a shot in the arm for India, as it is counting on the low-cost Oxford vaccine to inoculate a majority of its population. The candidate is being manufactured locally by the Serum Institute of India, which is planning to deliver the first 100 million doses to healthcare workers and the elderly by January next year.
In India, the price of the vaccine is capped at ₹1,000 for two necessary doses. An added advantage is that it can be stored at fridge temperatures (2 to 8 degree celsius) which solves a lot of storage and logistical issues in the developing world.
Why Oxford vaccine results are a boost for India's fight against Covid
The encouraging results are expected to come as a shot in the arm for India as it is counting on the low-cost Oxford vaccine to inoculate a majority of its population.https://t.co/jf2aCN34UF
— The Times Of India (@timesofindia) November 23, 2020
CEO of The Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawala expressed his delight at the development. “I am delighted to hear that, Covishield, a low-cost, logistically manageable & soon to be widely available, #COVID19 vaccine will offer protection up to 90% in one type of dosage regime and 62% in the other dosage regime,” he tweeted.
I am delighted to hear that, Covishield, a low-cost, logistically manageable & soon to be widely available, #COVID19 vaccine, will offer protection up to 90% in one type of dosage regime and 62% in the other dosage regime. Further details on this, will be provided this evening. https://t.co/KCr3GmROiW
— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) November 23, 2020
The government will make bulk purchases, and India is likely to get its first batch of shots as early as January-February next year. India first plans to allow frontline workers like doctors, nurses and municipal staff to get the vaccine. It would only be possible once Serum Institute of India gets emergency use approval for the vaccine candidate soon after it gets one from the United Kingdom.
The SII has almost completed its phase 3 trials in India and a follow-up of the data is likely to start soon. “If Serum Institute submits its efficacy data from the UK and applies for emergency authorisation here, it can easily be granted,” indicating that by February-March, more than one vaccine is likely to get at least emergency use authorisation.
AZ Oxford vaccine – 70% effectiveness on an average with fridge grade storage for six months and mass production in Pune – good news for India to start off 2021. https://t.co/GsSj2rL76o
— Aashish Chandorkar (@c_aashish) November 23, 2020
The year 2021 is suddenly starting to look a lot more hopeful. All we need to do is get through this last phase getting the basics right – wear masks, socially distance, and sanitise.