AstraZeneca Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine Heading to Israel Is 'Highly Effective'

Trial finds that half dose of the vaccine followed by a full dose at least one month apart is 90% effective

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A sign is pictured outside the AstraZeneca factory in Liverpool north west England on July 20, 2020.
A sign is pictured outside the AstraZeneca factory in Liverpool north west England on July 20, 2020.Credit: Paul ELLIS / AFP

AstraZeneca, whose COVID-19 vaccine is expected to arrive in Israel next year, said Monday that late stage trials were “highly effective’’ in preventing disease.

The results are based on interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of the vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. No hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were reported in those receiving the vaccine, AstraZeneca said.

“These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives. Excitingly that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90% effective,’’ said Professor Andrew Pollard, the chief investigator for the trial.

The trial looked at two different dosing regimens — a half dose of the vaccine followed by a full dose at least one month apart was 90% effective. A second regimen using two full doses one month apart was 62% effective. The combined results showed an average efficacy rate of 70%.

“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,’’ AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said. “Furthermore, the vaccine’s simple supply chain and our no-profit pledge and commitment to broad, equitable and timely access means it will be affordable and globally available, supplying hundreds of millions of doses on approval.”

Under an agreement which is in advanced stages of negotiations, AstraZeneca would provide some 10 million vaccine doses to Israel. The vaccine would be sold under a nonprofit model – the company would not profit from selling the product to Israel during the pandemic.

The initial supply of AstraZeneca vaccines would arrive in Israel in the first half of 2021 subject to regulatory authorities in Europe, the United States and Israel. 

Two other drugmakers, Pfizer and Moderna, last week reported preliminary results from late-stage trials showing that their COVID-19 vaccines were almost 95% effective.

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