Pascal Soriot (AP Images)

As­traZeneca, Ox­ford on the de­fen­sive as skep­tics dis­miss 70% av­er­age ef­fi­ca­cy for Covid-19 vac­cine

On the third straight Mon­day that the world wakes up to pos­i­tive vac­cine news, As­traZeneca and Ox­ford are de­clar­ing a new Phase III mile­stone in the fight against the pan­dem­ic. Not every­one is con­vinced they will play a big part, though.

With an av­er­age ef­fi­ca­cy of 70%, the head­line num­ber struck an­a­lysts as less im­pres­sive than the 95% and 94.5% pro­tec­tion that Pfiz­er/BioN­Tech and Mod­er­na have boast­ed in the past two weeks, re­spec­tive­ly. But the British part­ners say they have sev­er­al oth­er bright spots go­ing for their can­di­date. One of the two dos­ing reg­i­mens test­ed in Phase III showed a bet­ter pro­file, bring­ing ef­fi­ca­cy up to 90%; the ade­n­ovirus vec­tor-based vac­cine re­quires min­i­mal re­frig­er­a­tion, which may mean eas­i­er dis­tri­b­u­tion; and As­traZeneca has pledged to sell it at a frac­tion of the price that the oth­er two vac­cine de­vel­op­ers are charg­ing.

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