AstraZeneca announced that a combined interim analysis of late-stage studies showed that the COVID-19 candidate vaccine AZD1222 had an average efficacy of 70%, increasing to 90% for a regimen that included initial immunization with a half dose. The pooled data come from the COV002 phase 2/3 trial in the UK and the COV003 phase 3 study in Brazil.
AstraZeneca indicated that it will now prepare submission of the data to regulatory authorities, whilst it will seek an emergency-use listing from the World Health Organization allowing for accelerated availability in low-income countries. The drugmaker added that the full analysis of the interim results will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
AstraZeneca said that it is “making rapid progress” on manufacturing AZD1222 with operations executive Pam Cheng noting that the company expects to have 200 million doses by the end of the year, with 700 million doses ready by the end of the first quarter of 2021. The drugmaker added that it aims to have a capacity of up to 3 billion doses of the vaccine in 2021 on a rolling basis. Unlike mRNA vaccines being developed by Moderna and a partnership between Pfizer and BioNTech that require very cold temperatures for storage, AstraZeneca suggested that AZD1222 “can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions for at least six months and administered within existing healthcare settings.”