AstraZeneca vaccine “amazing” – low dose works better than high dose
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With the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, another company has presented positive data on a corona vaccine relevant for Europe. The effectiveness is less than that of the competition – but one detail amazes the study leaders.
Mhe British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has presented another company with positive data on a corona vaccine. The vaccine avoids with an average of 70 percent probability of contracting Covid-19, the company announced on the basis of data from the important test phase III.
Andrew Pollard from the research team said they were very satisfied with the high effectiveness of the vaccine candidate. The number even increased to more than 90 percent if the subjects were given half a dose and then a whole instead of two full doses.
The effectiveness is based on interim results of clinical studies in the UK and Brazil. When an initial half dose was given and another full one month later, the effectiveness was 90 percent – with two full doses, however, only 62 percent. If you combine these values, you get around 70 percent, according to AstraZeneca. In those who received the vaccine in the study, there was not a single severe disease course after infection. Of 11,636 test subjects, 131 tested positive for Covid-19 during the study.
Pollard rated the study results as “amazing”. With a view to the result that the vaccine offers higher protection at a lower dose, more work is needed, Pollard told the BBC on Monday. “I think this is a really exciting and baffling result that we need to look into further.” AstraZeneca boss Pascal Soriot said the lower dosage was a huge benefit as it would allow more people to be vaccinated faster.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the announcement that the vaccine could achieve up to 90 percent effectiveness as “fantastic” news. “Incredibly exciting news that studies have shown the Oxford vaccine to be so effective,” said Johnson Twitter. “There are more security checks to be made, but these are fantastic results.”
According to preliminary data, the effectiveness of the vaccines from Pfizer / Biontech and Moderna is around 95 percent for double vaccinations. The AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored according to the information at refrigerator temperatures of two to eight degrees.
EU has ordered 300 million cans
The AstraZeneca active ingredient developed jointly with the University of Oxford has long been one of the most promising candidates: the EU had already ordered up to 300 million doses of it in advance. In total, various countries have already ordered billions of cans from AstraZeneca.
The active ingredient AZD1222 is based on the weakened version of a chimpanzee cold virus. It contains genetic material from a surface protein with which the Sars-CoV-2 pathogen docks onto human cells. The agent works in two ways: It is supposed to promote the formation of specific antibodies as well as T cells – both are important for the immune system. Unlike the vaccines from the Mainz company Biontech and the pharmaceutical company Pfizer as well as the US company Moderna, the British-Swedish preparation does not belong to the mRNA vaccines.
The Oxford researchers recently reported in the specialist magazine “The Lancet” that their vaccine was also effective in the elderly in clinical phase II tests. In the phase II study, participants both under and over 56 years of age had good immune responses, the team wrote. The vaccine was even better tolerated by the elderly than by the younger ones. According to the information, around 240 of the 560 healthy study participants were over 70 years old. Older people have an increased risk of a severe course of Covid-19.