AstraZeneca’s experimental Covid-19 vaccine, which the University of Oxford co-developed, proved highly effective in a large-scale trial, Bloomberg reports.
Tell Me More: Early analysis showed the vaccine prevented 70% of participants from getting sick. That number rose to 90% for “one of two regimens, using half a dose followed by a full one later, close to the high bar set by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc.”
- The results were based on trials in the U.K. and Brazil, where 131 participants contracted Covid-19. The full two doses showed an efficacy of 62%, and there were no severe cases or hospitalizations among participants.
- Oxford scientists spent years working on a vaccine for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, which helped them create a shot for Covid-19 quickly.
So What’s Next? AstraZeneca and Oxford are “preparing to submit the findings to regulators and don’t expect the different outcomes in the study to affect the process.” The U.S. could take longer to sign off because the vaccine’s stateside clinical trial needs more time for results.
How’s this going to compete with Pfizer and Moderna? Well, while those two have higher efficacy rates, both about 95%, AstraZeneca’s shot does not use mRNA technology and can be stored at refrigerator temperatures.
- “That would make Astra’s easier to deploy globally, particularly in lower- and middle-income countries. It also comes at a lower cost.”
- AstraZeneca-Oxford also “cautioned against comparing the efficacy levels of the vaccines too closely at this stage.”
As for fulfillment, AstraZeneca expects to be able to ship more than 300 million doses globally by the end of Q1 2021. It will also produce roughly 100 to 200 million doses monthly.
- AstraZeneca-Oxford could deliver 4 million to the U.K. by year’s end and 40 million by the end of Q1 next year.
A Few Questions Remain: AstraZeneca-Oxford still has to iron out what dosing regimen will produce the best efficacy rate. But vaccine developers as a whole still have to monitor antibody levels closely to see how long any protection lasts.
- “U.K. and European Union regulators are conducting accelerated reviews of the results from both Astra and Pfizer, which has applied for an emergency use authorization in the U.S.”
If 90% effective, AstraZeneca’s vaccine is incrementally more advantageous than the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna ones on pain-level and storage alone. Let’s hope all three come to market and can start helping quickly.
For ROIC members that missed the last Making Cents, I am currently bullish on a high-risk, very high-reward vaccine stock that I have put on the Big Board. It’s a vaccine candidate with expected advantages over the others trading at a very low valuation and has a lot of really well-respected biotech hedge funds quietly buying into it.