AstraZeneca Vaccine Results Likely By Christmas, With Early Efficacy Findings in Weeks
Researchers at the University of Oxford expect to report results from their phase 3 trials of AstraZeneca’s (AZ) COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222, before Christmas, the study’s leader said.
Andrew Pollard, a vaccine expert specializing in pediatric infection and immunity and chief investigator of the Oxford trials, said Thursday that the late-stage efficacy results for the promising vaccine will likely be released before Dec. 25.
Pollard said that he has been “absolutely delighted” with the results so far that seem to indicate a strong immune response and said the vaccine has been able to protect elderly patients, a group likely to be prioritized for the initial round of vaccinations.
Findings from Oxford’s phase 2 portion of a phase 2/3 trial, which involved 560 participants, were published in The Lancet this week, showing that the vaccine provided similar levels of immunity across the study’s different age groups following a booster vaccination. Notably, it proved to be better-tolerated in older adults than younger ones. No serious adverse reactions were found to be caused by the vaccine.
“If these responses correlate with protection … these findings are encouraging because older individuals are at disproportionate risk of severe COVID-19 and so any vaccine adopted for use against SARS-CoV-2 must be effective in older adults,” the researchers wrote.
Pfizer/BioNTech’s and Moderna’s promising vaccine candidates have shown to be extremely effective (DID, Nov. 19), setting a high bar for AstraZeneca’s and Oxford’s vaccine to reach. AZD1222 is a viral-vector vaccine that is based on a weakened version of a common cold virus.
The head of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, Kate Bingham, said earlier this month that the country will see fewer doses of AZ’s candidate by the end of the year than was previously expected. She said that approximately 4 million doses are expected to be ready for deployment by the end of 2020. In total, Britain will receive 100 million doses of the vaccine (DID, Nov. 5).
The U.S. is set to receive at least 300 million doses of AZ’s vaccine under a $1.2 billion HHS agreement (DID, May 22). The company has also entered into other supply deals, including two partnerships that will see the manufacturing and global distribution of 1.3 billion doses (DID, June 5). — James Miessler